Speed Reductions at the Mouth of the Saguenay Fjord

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Why slow down at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord?

Between May and October, the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord is an area of heavy traffic. Highly frequented by belugas, this is also a place where boating and shipping activities are most heavily concentrated. Throughout the range of the St. Lawrence beluga, this sector is the noisiest.

In order to mitigate the impact of maritime traffic on the beluga population, the maximum sailing speed in the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord between May 1 and October 31 has been set at 15 knots. This slowdown helps reduce disturbance, lower the risks of collision and mitigate underwater noise produced by boats.

Research and Monitoring

Since 2018, Parks Canada has been monitoring the movement and speeds of ships and tour boats within the Marine Park using data from an automatic identification system (AIS). Every minute, this system transmits the geographic positions of those boats that are connected to the network. This helps ensure that speed limits are respected at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord.

To assess how belugas are co-existing with maritime traffic, scientific monitoring is carried out every summer by an observer from the Pointe-Noire Interpretation and Observation Centre.


Based on AIS data, it has been found that tour boat captains are complying more with speed limits at the mouth of the Saguenay. Speed limit compliance improved from 27% in 2018-2020 to 94% in 2023.

The slowdown measure at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord has been in force since 2017.

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