Aquatic Species at Risk

A number of aquatic wildlife species found in Quebec's fresh and marine waters are—or are becoming—at risk as a result of human activity (e.g., commercial fishing, industrial activities, urbanization, agriculture, shipping and tourism). These species are critical to the equilibrium and health of freshwater and marine ecosystems and, for that reason, it is essential to protect them. Since its implementation in 2003, the Species at Risk Act has protected several of these species, including the St. Lawrence beluga whale, copper redhorse and leatherback turtle. The purpose of the Act is to prevent wildlife species from becoming extinct and to provide for the recovery of wildlife species at risk due to human activity. Fisheries and Oceans Canada oversees their protection and works toward their recovery.

You can help to protect species at risk by respecting their habitat, taking part in public consultations or getting involved in recovery projects.

Belugas whales

Aquatic Species at Risk in Quebec

Additional information on aquatic species at risk is available on Fisheries and Oceans Canada's national website.

Current Public Consultations

As part of the process of listing a species under the Species at Risk Act or planning its recovery, Fisheries and Oceans Canada holds consultations with the public and other stakeholders (including industry, scientists, Aboriginal communities and environmental groups), to hear their views and comments. The following is a list of the consultations currently under way on species at risk in Quebec. The complete list of all current and past public consultations is found on the Species at Risk Public Registry.

We encourage you to take part in the consultation and to share your views!

Currents Consultations

Past Consultations

Fisheries and Oceans Canada held consultations in the Quebec Region to seek the public's views and input on the following species at risk:


Once a species is added to the List under the Species at Risk Act, certain prohibitions may apply. The Species at Risk Act prohibits the killing, harming, harassing, capturing or taking of extirpated, endangered and threatened species, and makes it illegal to destroy their critical habitat. The Act also seeks to manage species of special concern to prevent them from becoming endangered or threatened.

The Act can impose new restrictions on activities or works in or near water. Some activities may be authorized by agreements or permits if they do not jeopardize the survival or recovery of a species at risk.

Find out what the Act may mean to you.

Permit application under the Species at Risk Act

Aquatic Species at Risk in Quebec

Fisheries and Oceans Canada is responsible for aquatic wildlife species in freshwater and marine environments. As such, it participates in the process of adding aquatic species designated at risk by the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC) to the Species at Risk Act and oversees its implementation.

Assessment and Listing of Aquatic Species at Risk


Under the Species at Risk Act, Fisheries and Oceans Canada must plan the recovery of aquatic species at risk. To do so, it develops strategies and plans aimed at the recovery of threatened, endangered or extirpated species and the management of species of special concern. The implementation of these strategies and plans can take several years.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada encourages stakeholders, communities and non-governmental organizations to get involved in species at risk recovery activities and projects. The Department also seeks to enhance public information and awareness of the importance of species at risk and of the practices to be adopted for the protection and recovery of these species.

Recovery Strategies, Action Plans and Management Plans

Recovery Implementation

Monitoring and Follow-up

Under the Species at Risk Act, Fisheries and Oceans Canada must follow up on the implementation of recovery strategies and action plans and the progress made in achieving their objectives five years after their publication on the SARA Public Registry. Fisheries and Oceans Canada must also follow up on the implementation of the management plans five years after their publication.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada regularly assesses aquatic wildlife populations through field surveys and inventories, such as aerial marine mammal surveys or stock assessments.

General Status of Wildlife Reports
Species at Risk Public Registry

Links of Interest

More information about the Species at Risk Act and species at risk in Canada is available at the following websites:

Species at Risk Act (SARA)

Aquatic Species at Risk
Fisheries and Oceans Canada – national website

Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC)

The species at Risk
Parks Canada

Threatened or Vulnerable Wildlife Species of Quebec
Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs du Québec

Contact Us

For general information or for any questions or comments regarding aquatic species at risk in Quebec, contact us at:

Species at Risk Management Division
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
850, route de la Mer, P.O. Box 1000
Mont-Joli, Quebec, G5H 3Z4
Telephone : 1-877-775-0848
E-mail :