With its exceptional biodiversity, the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park is a captivating place for researchers!

An open-air laboratory

Protecting a given environment starts with understanding that environment. This is why scientific research is an essential tool to protect biodiversity. It allows to measure the effectiveness of protection measures and helps to mitigate the effects of human activities on the marine environment.

The answers are right in front of us

Each year, scientists from academia, Parks Canada and Sépaq and other valued collaborators show no shortage of patience, curiosity and observation skills. Through their work, they push the frontiers of the unknown. Whether it lasts for a few months or a few years, the monitoring carried out is an important source of knowledge.

Keeping an eye on the beluga

In collaboration with Sépaq, a Parks Canada team is studying the beluga whale in two specific areas of the Marine Park: at the mouth of the Saguenay River and in Baie Sainte-Marguerite, where pods of adult belugas and their calves spend a substantial part of the summer. The knowledge thus acquired and invaluable support of the local population will help us to better protect this magnificent marine mammal.

Studying the little ones to understand the giants

On board “L’Alliance”, Parks Canada researchers navigate the Marine Park waters to find out what’s on the menu for whales, seals, and birds. Their equipment is specially designed to detect krill and fish below the surface. Understanding the available food of endangered species such as the beluga and the blue whale is invaluable to better protect their habitat. The first results of this study have contributed to the identification of the feeding grounds most used by baleen whales.

Making a difference, together

With the information gathered by the research teams, the shipping industry has agreed to collaborate by reducing the speed of ships in the main feeding areas to reduce the risk of collisions with whales

At the initiative of Parks Canada and Fisheries and Oceans Canada, a working group designed specific measures for the protection of whales. The pilots of merchant and passenger vessels are asked to adapt their sailing in areas frequented by whales. They pay particular attention to the presence of animals, slow down in feeding areas and avoid sailing in the area most frequented by blue whales.

Focus groups play an important role. They contribute to further discoveries and to finding and implementing solutions to enhance whale protection.