For the second consecutive year, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada are encouraging recreational boaters to adopt good practices on the water to protect the belugas of the St. Lawrence. Under this year’s theme “Show you care, keep your distance!“, boaters are encouraged to move away from belugas to avoid disturbing this endangered species.

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From July 29 to July 31, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Parks Canada will be patrolling the south shore of the St. Lawrence and the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park to raise awareness among sailing enthusiasts, recreational boaters and kayakers on good practices to adopt when on the water. In August, other activities are also planned at the marinas in Rimouski and Saint-Jean-Port-Joli.

Belugas require space and tranquillity.

When belugas approach pleasure craft, they react to their presence and alter their behaviour. The presence of boaters may disrupt their resting, feeding or even calving and nursing of young. Thousands of boats are present in the Estuary between June and September, which corresponds to the beluga calving season. The accumulation of all these disturbances can have an impact on beluga health and reproduction, as well as the survival of young. This is why it is important to maintain one’s distance.

This awareness initiative is conducted in collaboration with the Marine Mammal Ecowatch Network (ROMM) and the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM).

To learn more:

Information sheet on best practices to adopt in the presence of belugas 

News - 27/7/2016

Josiane Cabana

Josiane Cabana served as Director for the Quebec Marine Mammal Emergency Response Network call centre from 2011 to 2018. When she’s not responding to cases of dead or vulnerable marine mammals, she likes to take the time to educate local residents on the threats faced by these animals. Biologist by training, she has been involved with the GREMM for more than 15 years, and always with the same undying passion!

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