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Review 2022

An environment to protect

2022 marks the 24th year of existence of the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park, the first marine protected area in Quebec. Located at the junction of the Lower St. Lawrence, Charlevoix, North Shore and Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean regions, it covers an area two and a half times the size of the island of Montréal. But what concrete actions have been taken to protect this exceptionally rich territory? Throughout the year, teams from Parks Canada and Sépaq, and their partners, work hard to study, present and, above all, protect this territory so that everyone can enjoy it for a long time to come.

The heart of the marine park’s mission is to protect an endangered species: the St. Lawrence beluga. Currently, 37% of the beluga’s critical habitat is protected by the marine park. Once again this year, the team has contributed in various ways to improve the recovery of the species.

Let’s take a look back at the past year before moving ahead into the 25th year.

The marine park, an open-air laboratory

Supervised marine activities for enjoying the territory for a long time to come

20th year of the Marine Activities in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Regulations.

194 kayak guides and captains trained in the Regulations.

203 permits issued for marine activities, filming, sports activities and research projects.

714 hours of warden sea patrols to monitor compliance with the Regulations.

25 captains and naturalists and 10 ticket agents trained in eco-responsible practices and interpretation under the Eco-Whale Alliance.

14 regulatory signs installed at marinas and boat launches around the marine protected area to indicate proper behaviour. Signage renewal will be completed in 2023.

5e year of seasonal closure to navigation in Baie Sainte-Marguerite in the Saguenay Fjord.

94% of the time without disturbance to belugas during observation periods from the shore in Baie Sainte-Marguerite (2021).

10th year that the Corporation des pilotes du Bas Saint-Laurent and the marine industry joined the voluntary slowdown to 10 knots to reduce the risk of collision with large whales off Les Bergeronnes.

Meeting people, in person and remotely

Awareness raised among1 264 boaters and kayakers on the water and in marinas.

27 tours in 10 marinas near the marine park, from Cap-à-l’Aigle to Les Bergeronnes via Saguenay.

40 outings on the water by the outreach teams in the St. Lawrence Estuary, the mouth of the Saguenay River, and the Saguenay Fjord, to meet with boaters in the marine park.

880 000 people reached via Facebook posts.

101 500 unique visitors to the web site.

More than 20 000 grade 3 to 6 students in Quebec attended the virtual workshops offered in collaboration with École en réseau.

1 800 views of the story The St. Lawrence Beluga and Humans at a Crossroadson Google Arts and Culture. The story has been read in a dozen countries in North America and Europe.

A participatory management model

100th meeting of the marine park coordinating committee in Rivière-du-Loup in May 2022. The committee brings together representatives from the six riparian RCMs, the Essipit Innu First Nation, the Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation and the scientific and academic community.

A place to visit: in the water, on the waves or with dry feet

1 000 000

visitors to the marine park and its shores each summer.

63 000

visitors to the three Parks Canada centres.

206 000

visitors to Parc national du Fjord-du-Saguenay.

To explore the marine park, opt for a sea excursion with an accredited company or visit one of the 21 discovery sites around the park. If you are using your own boat, be sure to familiarize yourself with the Marine Activities Regulations.

Did you know that nearly 2,200 species have been discovered in the park since it was established? From microscopic algae to the gigantic blue whale, the diversity of animals and plants living in this marine area is unique.

The marine park in my region

Click on the region of your choice to see the projects that took place there during 2022.

Lower St. Lawrence

  • Ratification of a Reconciliation and Rights Recognition Agreement between the Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation, the Parks Canada Agency and Crown Indigenous Relations and Northern Affairs Canada. With this Agreement, the parties will work together to promote and enhance the First Nation’s participation in Parks Canada activities on the Wolastokuk, including recreational, tourism, cultural, scientific and environmental protection activities.
  • Development of a territorial guardians program with the Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation.
  • Participation in the Wolastoqiyik Wahsipekuk First Nation Pow Wow.
  • Collaboration on the development of Window on Belugas, a scientific and educational project that will enable visitors to follow the belugas live or recorded from one shore of the St. Lawrence to the other.
  • Organization of a Facebook Live event at the Club nautique de Rivière-du-Loup in July featuring a sailing enthusiast and a warden, both of whom will talk about beluga protection.
  • Sampling in Cacouna, Passe de l’Île aux Lièvres and Kamouraska to detect the presence of aquatic invasive species in the St. Lawrence Estuary.


  • 8e year of winter tracking of Barrow’s goldeneye from Baie-des-Rochers and second year of extended tracking from Baie-Sainte-Catherine to Cap-À-L’Aigle.
  • First installation of a hydrophone at Cap de la Tête au Chien to record underwater noise to study the aquatic soundscape.
  • Sampling in the area between Anse du Chafaud aux Basques and Baie-des-Rochers and in Saint-Siméon to detect the presence of aquatic invasive species.
  • 99,8% of sea excursions respected the ban on navigation in the conservation area of the Estuary between Baie-Sainte-Catherine and Gros Cap à l’Aigle, thus ensuring greater tranquillity for the belugas, particularly the females and juveniles that use this area extensively in the summer.
  • Collaboration with the Charlevoix-Est RCM to develop the Pointe-aux-Alouettes site.
  • Participation in the Géoparc de Charlevoix steering committee and integration of the Pointe-Noire Interpretation and Observation Centre into the network of geosites.

Upper North Shore

  • 3 moonlight jazz concerts at the Marine Environment Discovery Centre in Les Escoumins, in collaboration with Odyssée artistique.
  • Since 2008, joint organization of the Festival marin des Escoumins in collaboration with the municipality, Explos-Nature and Québec Subaquatique.
  • 2e year of collaboration with the Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac for winter tracking of Barrow’s goldeneye from Tadoussac to Les Escoumins.
  • 2e year of harbour seal tracking at Batture de Pointe-aux-Vaches to understand how seals use the site and to learn more about their seasonal movements between the Saguenay and the Estuary. A maximum of 32 individuals were observed.
  • The “Window on Belugas” pilot project, launched at the Halte du Béluga lookout in Baie Sainte-Marguerite, is a scientific and educational project that will enable visitors to track and hear the belugas live or recorded from one shore of the St. Lawrence to the other.
  • 28thyear of monitoring marine observation activities on tour company boats to gain a better understanding of the dynamics of this tourist activity.
  • Since 2006, collaboration with the Groupe de recherche et d’éducation sur les mammifères marins (GREMM) for using photo-identification to track large whales in order to document the abundance of marine mammals in the marine park.
  • Exceptional observation in August: a North Atlantic right whale ventured into the Saguenay Fjord up to Cap de la Boule.
  • Successful collaboration and follow-up with the Réseau québécois d’urgences pour les mammifères marins (RQUMM) [Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network] to disentangle a humpback whale in September.


  • 25th year of participation in the monitoring of ice fishing in the Saguenay Fjord with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and local fishing associations and committees to ensure the sustainable development of the activity.
  • Continuation of studies on the species fished and winter patrols by wardens on the fjord to ensure compliance with the regulations in force.
  • A maximum of 170 harbour seals have been counted during scientific monitoring to study their numbers and distribution in the Saguenay Fjord over the years.
  • 19th year of beluga whale tracking in Baie Sainte-Marguerite. All the data collected were used to develop an ethogram, a detailed “dictionary” of beluga whale behaviours.
  • Exceptional observations in July: humpback whales at Île Saint-Louis and belugas spotted at the entrance to Baie des Ha! Ha!
  • Exceptional observation in August: a North Atlantic right whale ventured into the Saguenay Fjord up to Cap de la Boule.
  • Belugas were also spotted in L’Anse-Saint-Jean throughout the summer and fall.
  • Interpretation in marinas in the Saguenay region (boroughs of La Baie and Chicoutimi), Sainte-Rose-du-Nord and L’Anse-Saint-Jean.

How can you contribute to protecting belugas and other whales in the marine park?

  • Stay informed by following the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park Facebook page
  • Participate in shoreline cleanup activities in your area.
  • Observe belugas from the shore.
  • Share your marine mammal sightings at
  • Learn how to behave in the presence of whales by taking the free Navigating Whale Habitat training course.
  • At sea, keep a distance of 400 metres from endangered species, such as the beluga and the blue whale.
  • Keep a distance of 200 metres from other whale species.