Habitat characterisation in critical zones or marine protected areas using a combination of direct (benthic imagery, acoustics) and numerical (habitat modelling) approaches in the Gulf of Saint Lawrence


Top Image grabbed from HD video, used to identify larger structures, fish, and invertebrates.
Bottom Image used to classify the surface sediments and identify microorganisms.

The potential that important commercial species could experience a decline in productivity due to the effect of human activities on their habitats has been increasing in recent years. This issue has raised concerns over fishing practices, where scientific advice on the nature and extent of human impacts and management measures to address these impacts is needed, such as critical zones where fisheries should be time-limited or eliminated altogether. This project will characterize and map sensitive habitats of high-value commercial species based on depth, temperature, and bottom type. It will also estimate the sensitivity of important habitats to human activity, and establish a reference for each area before human impact. The results of this project will be provided to fisheries and oceans managers and will be useful in developing conservation strategies aimed at reducing human impacts on habitats and productivity.

Program Name

Strategic Program for Ecosystem-based Research and Advice (SPERA)


Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary

Principal Investigator(s)

Claude Savenkoff

Richard Larocque

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