Language selection


Terms of Reference

Review of the Draft for the St. Lawrence Estuary Marine Protected Area (MPA) Ecological Monitoring Plan

Quebec Region Science Advisory Process

Mont-Joli, QC
May 3-5, 2011

Chairpersons: Suzan Dionne, Jacques A. Gagné, Denis Gilbert and Claude Rouleau


The St. Lawrence Estuary MPA has been proposed to ensure the conservation and long-term protection of marine mammals, their habitats and their food resources. This includes species that live there year round, beluga whales and harbour seals, as well as migratory species such as blue whales and fin whales. The MPA, with an approximate area of 6,000 km², will cover an area of the St. Lawrence that will be peripheral and complementary to the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park. A preliminary management plan for the MPA has been developed, formulating among other things the objectives of the MPA, including the conservation objectives. The designation of the MPA will be done by adoption of a regulation.

The Oceans Management Branch has an obligation to assess the effectiveness of the management plan and the realization of the MPA objectives. Ecological monitoring is therefore necessary to assess whether the management measures in place are adequate to achieve the conservation objectives. This review therefore meets the Science sector commitment in the Health of the Oceans initiative, section 21, which aims to develop performance indicators for MPAs in Canada.

The environmental monitoring plan was developed at a scientific workshop held on March 3 and 4, 2011. In addition, as part of the Ecosystem Research Initiative (ERI) in the St. Lawrence Estuary, some indicators were proposed for some of the monitoring plan components. From these meetings, a preliminary plan has emerged that is to be endorsed and supported by the peers.


The objectives of the review are:

  1. Evaluate the proposed indicators on threats and their potential effects on marine mammals based on selection criteria
  2. Identify existing monitoring and propose potential monitoring for these indicators

Four assessment tables for the indicators and monitoring will bring together experts based on their expertise on the following themes:  

  1. Marine mammals and their habitat
  2. Prey of marine mammals
  3. Contamination and diseases of marine mammals
  4. Ecosystem indicators

Expected Publications



Participation to CSAS peer review meetings is by invitation only.

Date modified: