Present throughout the marine park, mink whales are often seen close to shore. Their population is not at risk. This whale can be recognized by its curved dorsal fin and the white band on each flipper.
6 to 10 m.
6 to 10 tons
This is the second largest whale in the world! The western North Atlantic population is estimated at 3,000 whereas prior to hunting, there were approximately 40,000 of them. That is why this whale has been assigned the status of species of special concern Between 20 and 80 fin whales can be seen in the Lower Estuary.
18 to 21 m.
40 to 50 tons
The humpback whale is famous for breaching out of the water. It has both a hump-like dorsal fin and very long pectoral fins. Although it was threatened with extinction in the 1980s, the humpback population has since grown to the point that it is no longer at risk. Humpbacks visit the Lower Estuary in the summer.
11 to 16 m.
25 to 35 tons
The blue whale is the largest animal on Earth! Although whale hunting has ended, the North Atlantic population is endangered. Only 250 to 300 individuals remain, including a dozen that occasionally visit the Lower Estuary.
21 to 30 m.
80 to 135 tons
Circa 1850, there were between 7,800 and 10,000 belugas. Today, there are approximately 889 of them. The population is endangered. Belugas are found throughout the marine park, where they live in pods. While calves are grey, belugas turn white at adulthood.
3 to 5 m.
0,7 to 2 tons
The smallest of the St. Lawrence whales, the harbour porpoise moves in groups. It has a rounded head, triangular dorsal fin, grey sides and white underside. This whale has been assigned the status of species of special concern. The harbour porpoise is present in the Lower Estuary primarily in the summer.
1,5 to 2 m.
45 to 65 kg
The grey seal, the largest seal in the St. Lawrence, has a long, rounded muzzle. It is seen in the Lower Estuary primarily in the summer. Grey seals are abundant in both the Gulf and the Estuary and are not at risk.
2 to 2,4 m.
225 to 400 kg
The only resident species of seal, the harbour seal can be seen throughout the marine park. The profile of its head resembles that of a dog, particularly on account of its tapering muzzle. The population is not at risk.
1,5 to 1,9 m.
Traditionnally, a winter visitor, it is increasingly observed in the summer as well. They form large groups that literally make the surface boil as they swim along. They have a black head and grey pelt with a large black band. Pups are white as snow and nicknamed “blanchons”.
1,6 to 1,9 m.
85 to 180 kg
During the fall and winter, nearly one third of the Barrow’s Goldeneye population inhabiting Eastern North America come to spend time in the shallow rocky bays of the St. Lawrence Estuary.
If a catastrophe should occur, such as an oil spill, the gregarious behaviour of these ducks would be disastrous to their survival. Forestry operations also threaten the Barrow’s Goldeneye’s breeding grounds, as they nest in trees.
Over the past 30 years, the Atlantic Cod population has suffered a 90% decline. Fishing, although highly controlled, changes in habitat and life history of the fish as well as predation put pressure on cod stocks. Yet, the high levels of early natural mortality appear to be the main factor in their decline. The data collected by Fisheries and Oceans Canada suggest the presence of several cohorts in the Saguenay River, where limited seasons of recreational fishing open periodically in this part of the park.
This fish is a predator that haunts the ocean depths. Although it is not fished commercially, a decline in the current population has been detected. Incidental catches of Atlantic Wolffish in the trawl nets used in deep-sea fishing are probably hampering its recovery.
The Blue Whale is found in all the oceans of the world. This whale, the world’s largest living animal, is now listed as a species at risk due to pollution, collisions with boats and accidental entanglement in fishing gear. The North Atlantic population that uses the Marine Park counts as little as 250 to 300 individuals.
The fin Whale is the second largest animal in the world after the Blue Whale. It was heavily hunted in the 20th Century, and the population plummeted. Hunting was banned in 1972, but the fin Whale is still vulnerable to habitat disturbance, collisions and pollution, as are all whales.
The snow-white beluga is the easiest to identify of all whales. Although hunting was banned in 1979, the population is failing to recover: there are only 889 individuals left. As belugas spend all year in the St. Lawrence, they are exposed to pollution and disturbance from recreational boating and marine transportation traffic.