Periods of low risk (when work can be carried out) to fish and fish habitat in marine and estuarine environments

Carrying out the work during periods of low risk prevents serious harm to marine and estuarine species.

 

map Area : Estuaire moyen Area : Haute-Côte-Nord and Fjord du Saguenay Area : Moyenne-Côte-Nord and Île d’Anticosti Area : Basse-Côte-Nord Area : Bas-Saint-Laurent / Gaspésie Area : Baie-des-Chaleurs Area : Îles-de-la-Madeleine

Figure 1. Areas of the Estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence

Effects taken into account to determine the periods of low risk

The increase in the concentration of suspended solids and their deposition on the bottom, high noise levels and lighting during night work are the main effects that were taken into account to determine the periods of low risk.

These effects, which may be generated during the work, may prevent or interfere with the fulfilment of important activities for certain sensitive species (Table 1).

Carrying out the work during periods of low risk prevents target species from being exposed to these effects.

Please note that:

  • Marine mammals are not included in the target species. If your project may affect them, you must contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
  • If aquatic species at risk are present at the work site or near it, you must contact Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
Table 1. List of target species and the important activities relating to their life cycle that are sensitive and for which periods of low risk were determined.
Species Important life cycle activities that are sensitive to impacts
Fish
American eel Migration
Capelin Spawning and egg incubation
Rainbow smelt Fish grouping and migration
Atlantic sturgeon Aggregation of youngs of the year
Atlantic herring Spawning and egg incubation
Lumpfish Spawning and egg incubation
Brook trout Migration
Atlantic salmon Migration
Invertebrate
Snow crab Seasonal grouping  in shallow waters
American lobster Larval concentration
Sea scallop Larval settlement on the bottom
Iceland scallop Larval settlement on the bottom

Zone delimitation

The periods of low risk depends on the area (see Figure 1) and the zone where the work will be carried out (see Figure 2). The boundary of the zones are as follows:

  • Watercourse mouth :
    • In the mouth of a watercourse or in the portion of the watercourse subject to the influence of salt water (upstream boundary of the salt front) or
    • Along the coast, within 1 km of the boundaries of the mouth.
  • Coastal shoreline :
    • From the boundary of the higher high water large tide up to 1 km from the coast.
    • Excluding the watercourse mouth zones.
  • Coastal zone :
    • From the edge of the coastal shoreline zone up to 5 km from the coast.

Note : The upper limit of fish habitat is defined by the boundary of the higher high water large tide

map

Figure 2. Boundaries of the different zones

How to determine the period(s) of low risk

To identify the recommended period(s) for your project, you must:

  1. Select the area where you plan to carry out the works.
  2. Identify the zone(s) in which your works will be carried out.
  3. Using the table that corresponds to the zone, determine the species that may be present at the work site or within 1 km of it. If you do not have information about the species that may be present during your work, you must use the period(s) of low risk identified in the All Species category.
  4. Determine the period of low risk. For example, if more than one species may be present during the same period (from May to August and from July to August), you will need to determine the time period(s) in common (July to August).
  5. Plan your works so as to carry them out during the consequent period of low risk.

Examples of how to determine periods of low risk 

Area : Estuaire moyen

The Estuaire moyen area extends from the western boundary of Saint-Joachim to the eastern boundary of Baie-Sainte-Catherine on the North Shore of the St. Lawrence River, and the western boundary of the municipality of Berthier-sur-Mer to the eastern boundary of L’Isle-Verte on the South Shore.

Within Estuaire moyen, there is a concentration area of juvenile Atlantic sturgeon. The period of low risk specific to the Atlantic sturgeon is only applicable to this concentration area and not the entire Estuaire moyen area.

map

Periods of low risk : Estuaire moyen
Zone : Watercourse mouth
American eel August 1 to May 31
and
June 1 to July 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
Capelin July 1 to May 15
Rainbow smelt May 15 to April 15
Brook trout October 15 to August 15
and
August 16 to October 14 : work between sunset and sunrise
Atlantic salmon September 15 to June 15
and
June 16 to September 14 : work between sunset and sunrise
All species October 15 to April 15
and
July 1 to October 14 : work between sunset and sunrise
Zone : Coastal shoreline
Capelin July 1 to May 15
Atlantic sturgeon October 15 to June 30
Atlantic herring June 25 to August 15
and
October 10 to May 20
All Species1 October 15 to May 15
Coastal zone
Atlantic sturgeon October 15 to June 30
Atlantic herring June 25 to August 15
and
October 10 to May 20
All species1 October 15 to May 20

1 Applies only if the work is taking place in the concentration area of the juvenile sturgeon. If the work is taking place outside of this concentration area, the period of low risk is from July 1 to August 15 and from October 10 to May 15 in coastal shoreline zones, and from June 25 to August 15 and from October 10 to May 20 in coastal zones.

Area : Haute-Côte-Nord and Fjord du Saguenay

For the Haute-Côte-Nord region, the boundaries are from Tadoussac to Pointe-des-Monts. For the Fjord du Saguenay region, the downstream boundary is between Pointe Noire (Baie-Ste-Catherine) and Pointe de l'Islet (Tadoussac) and the upstream boundary corresponds to the eastern boundary of Sainte-Fulgence.

map

Periods of low risk : Haute-Côte-Nord and Fjord du Saguenay
Zone : Watercourse mouth
Haute-Côte-Nord American eel August 1 to May 31
and
June 1 to July 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
Capelin June 25 to May 20
Rainbow smelt July 1 to April 30
Brook trout October 1 to July 31
and
August 1 to September 30 : work between sunset and sunrise
Atlantic salmon September 1 to April 30
and
May 1 to August 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
All species October 1 to April 30
and
July 1 to September 30 : work between sunset and sunrise
Fjord du Saguenay American eel August 1 to May 31
and
June 1 to July 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
Brook trout October 10 to August 20
and
August 21 to October 9 : work between sunset and sunrise
Atlantic salmon September 1 to May 31
and
June 1 to  August 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
All species October 10 to May 31
and
June 1 to October 5 : work between sunset and sunrise
Zone : Coastal shoreline (Haute-Côte-Nord only)
Capelin June 25 to May 20
Atlantic herring July 1 to July 31
and
October 10 to March 31
All species July 1 to July 31
and
October 10 to March 31
Coastal zone (Haute-Côte-Nord only)
Atlantic herring July 1 to July 31
and
October 10 to March 31
Sea scallop October 15 to September 5
Iceland scallop October 15 to August 20
All species July 1 to July 31
and
October 15 to March 31

Area : Moyenne-Côte-Nord and Île d’Anticosti

This area, which also includes Anticosti Island, extends from Pointe-des-Monts to east of the Natashquan River. This area was divided in 2 sub-areas to account for observed differences in capelin spawning periods.  

map

Periods of low risk : Moyenne-Côte-Nord and Île d’Anticosti
Zone : Watercourse mouth
Moyenne-Côte-Nord American eel August 1 to May 31
and
June 1 to July 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
Capelin
(sub-area A)
June 25 to May 10
Capelin
(sub-area B)
July 10 to May 25
Rainbow smelt July 1 to April 30
Brook trout October 1 to July 31
and
August 1 to September 30 : work between sunset and sunrise
Atlantic salmon September 1 to April 30
and
May 1 to August 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
All species October 1 to April 30
and 
July 10 to September 30 : work between sunset and sunrise
Île d’Anticosti American eel August 1 to May 31
and
June 1 to July 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
Capelin
(sub-area B)
July 10 to May 25
Brook trout October 1 to July 31
and
August 1 to September 30 : work between sunset and sunrise
Atlantic salmon September 1 to April 30
and
May 1 to August 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
All species October 1 to April 30
and
May 1 to 25 May : work between sunset and sunrise
and
July 10 to September 30 : work between sunset and sunrise
Zone : Coastal shoreline (Moyenne-Côte-Nord only)
Capelin (sub-area A) June 25 to May 10
Capelin (sub-area B) July 10 to May 25
Snow crab June 1 to November 30
Atlantic herring July 1 to July 31
and
October 10 to March 31
Lumpfish September 1 to April 30
All species October 10 to November 30
Coastal zone (Moyenne-Côte-Nord only)
Atlantic herring July 1 to July 31
and
October 10 to March 31
Sea scallop October 15 to September 5
Iceland scallop October 15 to August 20
All species July 1 to July 31
and
October 15 to March 31

Area : Basse-Côte-Nord

The Basse-Côte-Nord area extends from the eastern boundary of Kegaska Bay to the eastern boundary of the municipality of Blanc-Sablon.

map

Periods of low risk : Basse-Côte-Nord
Zone : Watercourse mouth
American eel August 1 to May 31
and
June 1 to July 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
Capelin July 15 to May 31
Rainbow smelt July 1 to April 30
Brook trout October 1 to July 31
and
August 1 to September 30 : work between sunset and sunrise
Atlantic salmon September 1 to April 30
and
May 1 to August 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
All species October 1 to April 30
and
July 15 to September 30 : work between sunset and sunrise
Zone : Coastal shoreline
Capelin July 15 to May 31
Atlantic herring July 1 to July 31
and
October 10 to March 31
Lumpfish September 1 to April 30
All species October 10 to March 31
Coastal zone
Atlantic herring July 1 to July 31
and
October 10 to March 31
Sea scallop October 15 to September 5
Iceland scallop October 15 to August 20
All species July 1 to July 31
and
October 15 to March 31

Area : Bas-St-Laurent / Gaspésie

The Bas-St-Laurent / Gaspésie area extends from the eastern boundary of L’Isle-Verte to the eastern boundary of Cap d'Espoir.

map

Periods of low risk : Bas-St-Laurent / Gaspésie
Zone : Watercourse mouth
American eel August 1 to May 31
and
June 1 to July 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
Capelin July 5 to May 25
Rainbow smelt June 15 to April 30
Brook trout October 10 to August 20
and
August 21 to October 9 : work between sunset and sunrise
Atlantic salmon September 1 to May 31
and
June 1 to August 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
All species October 10 to April 30
and
July 5 to October 9 : work between sunset and sunrise
Zone : Coastal shoreline
Capelin July 5 to May 25
Atlantic herring July 1 to August 15
and
October 10 to March 31
All species October 10 to March 31
and
July 5 to August 15
Coastal zone
Atlantic herring July 1 to August 15
and
October 10 to March 31
Sea scallop October 15 to September 5
Iceland scallop October 15 to August 20
All species October 15 to March 31
and
July 1 to August 15

Area : Baie-des-Chaleurs

The Baie-des-Chaleurs area extends from the mouth of the Restigouche River up to Cap d'Espoir.

map

Periods of low risk : Baie-des-Chaleurs
Zone : Watercourse mouth
American eel August 1 to May 31
and
June 1 to July 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
Capelin 20 June to May 15
Rainbow smelt June 15 to April 30
Brook trout October 10 to August 20
and
August 21 to October 9 : work between sunset and sunrise
Atlantic salmon September 1 to May 31
and
June 1 to August 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
All species October 10 to April 30
and
June 20 to October 9 : work between sunset and sunrise
Zone : Coastal shoreline
Capelin June 20 to May 15
Atlantic herring July 1 to August 15
and
October 10 to March 31
All species October 10 to  March 31
and
July 1 to August 15
Coastal zone
Atlantic herring July 1 to August 15
and
October 10 to March 31
Sea scallop October 10 to September 5
All species October 10 to March 31
and
July 1 to August 15

Area : Îles-de-la-Madeleine

This area covers all of Îles-de-la-Madeleine islands, including the lagoons.

map

Periods of low risk : Îles-de-la-Madeleine
Zone : Watercourse mouth
American eel August 1 to May 31
and
June 1 to July 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
Rainbow smelt June 1 to April 15
All species August 1 to April 15
and
June 1 to July 31 : work between sunset and sunrise
Zone : Coastal shoreline
Atlantic herring July 1 to August 15
and
October 10 to March 31
Coastal zone
Atlantic herring July 1 to August 15
and
October 10 to March 31
American lobster September 15 to July 15
Sea scallop October 25 to September 20
Iceland scallop October 15 to August 20
All species October 25 to March 31
and
July 1 to July 15