Ottawa and Quebec want to quadruple the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park
The park is located at the junction of the Saguenay River and the St. Lawrence estuary. (File photo)
Environment Ministers of Canada and Quebec, Steven Guilbeault and Benoit Charette, announced this Friday their intention to increase the territory of the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park.
The main objective of the project is to protect a greater part of the critical habitat of the St. Lawrence beluga, more than 60% of which is currently located outside the limits of the marine park, reads a press release.
“This desire of our respective governments responds directly to the objectives to which Canada and Quebec committed themselves at COP-15 in Montreal. ”
— Steven Guilbeault, Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change
In its current form, the project would quadruple the size of the park. The current area of the marine park is 1245 km2.
Minister of the Environment, the Fight Against Climate Change, Wildlife and Parks of Quebec , Benoit Charette, and Federal Minister of Environment and Climate Change, Steven Guilbault, made an announcement regarding the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park in Tadoussac.
Quebec and Ottawa intend to meet, over the coming months, with regional and municipal organizations as well as the parties concerned, including Aboriginal nations, research groups and local businesses to gather their comments.
The governments also plan to hold a public consultation phase, which will focus in particular on the proposed limits and the protection measures envisaged, can also be read in the press release.
In a press release, the Society for Nature and Parks (SNAP Quebec), declares that it is delighted with this official announcement.
The expansion of the marine park, it's a big step for the beluga and a giant leap for the St. Lawrence, says Alain Branchaud, biologist and general manager of CPAWS Quebec.
For the Union 138 Coalition, which campaigns for the construction of a bridge between Tadoussac and Baie-Sainte-Catherine, this announcement is also good news. We know how at risk this sector is, for 2,200 species, including the beluga, which is an endangered species, argues the organization's spokesperson, Guillaume Tremblay.
The St. Lawrence Estuary beluga is one of Canada's endangered species. (File photo)
It reinforces our position that we have at the Union 138 Coalition, because it is one of the elements that we raise for the construction of a bridge over the Saguenay River, adds the official. According to Guillaume Tremblay, the number of crossings of the sleepers varies around 40,000 annually.
Émilien Pelletier, professor emeritus at the Rimouski Institute of Marine Sciences and chair of the marine park's advisory committee, said Thursday that he hopes governments will come up with funding to implement the expansion project.
Émilien Pelletier is the president of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Coordinating Committee.< /p>
This park is located at the junction between the Saguenay River and the St. Lawrence Estuary. The creation of the Saguenay—St. Lawrence Marine Park in 1998 was the result of collaboration between the federal and provincial governments.
Last November, the government of Quebec confirmed that discussions were underway with Ottawa on a possible expansion project for the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park.
With information from Camille Lacroix and Marie-Christine Rioux