Our Work

St. Lawrence

Focus on protecting 30% of the St. Lawrence

By flowing from the fresh waters of the river to the brackish waters of the estuary, and then into the resolutely marine environment of the gulf, one can admire all the ecological richness and grandiose landscapes that characterize the St. Lawrence.

With its unique beauty, it not only houses a diversified marine life, but also supports a multitude of human activities, and has done so for millennia.

At the heart of the lives of many Quebecers, the St. Lawrence is facing several threats, like most marine environments on the planet.

That is why SNAP Quebec is working to expand a network of marine protected and conserved areas in the St. Lawrence, in collaboration with several local and regional actors.

Key information

The St. Lawrence is the world's largest estuary

About 80% of Quebec's population lives along its shores or tributaries, which amounts to 6 million people, and 50% of municipalities draw their drinking water from it

14 different species of whales can be observed there, including the blue whale, the largest animal to ever exist

A few more steps are needed to successfully implement these projects

Based on an international scientific consensus, Quebec and Canada have committed to protecting 30% of their oceans by 2030 at COP15 held in Montreal in December 2022.

Currently, 10.4% of Quebec's marine environments are counted as protected. However, there are still crucial steps to take before establishing true marine protected areas in place of the territorial reserves for protected areas in the estuary and northern Gulf, which currently cover 8.5% of our marine territory.

A roadmap needs to be adopted to achieve our objectives

There is still a long way to go to reach the next target of 30% marine territory protection in Quebec by 2030.

However, the creation of protected and conserved marine areas takes time, as it must include processes for characterizing environments, consulting and consulting with stakeholders, and developing appropriate management and protection measures. We must act quickly!

SNAP Quebec has developed a proposed roadmap identifying seven areas of interest that can serve as a starting point for completing the network of protected and conserved marine areas in the Saint Lawrence.

These include habitats of endangered species, ecosystems that capture blue carbon contributing to the fight against climate change, nearby marine landscapes and environments frequented by residents, and ancestral Indigenous territories.

Useful links:

© Nelson Boisvert, Jocelyn Praud, GREMM


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CPAWS Quebec aims to protect 50% of the province's natural areas. Support our mission!