First Marine Protected Area in the Gulf


Banc-des-Américains becomes the first marine protected area in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec, under the Canada-Quebec Agreement for the Establishment of a Network of Marine Protected Areas in Quebec, in the Estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Located off the coast of the Gaspé Peninsula, between Cap-Gaspé and Cap-d'Espoir (Forillon National Park and UNESCO Global Geopark of Percé), this marine protected area covers an area of ​​about 1 000 km².

This biological crossroads is very important for many species of fish and shellfish, some of which are endangered, such as whales, spotted wolves and northern wolves.

Quick facts about the protected area

  • The American Bench Marine Protected Area has many important ecological and biological features. It supports an extraordinary range of marine habitats and species, including an abundance of forage species and commercially fished species.
  • This area also has great potential as a feeding area for different species of fish and marine mammals, and could be an important habitat for groundfish populations.
  • The Marine Protected Area is designed to protect seabed habitats and forage species, and to facilitate the recovery of certain species at risk, particularly the blue whale, spotted wolffish and northern wolffish.
  • The settlement of the American Bench Marine Protected Area establishes two management zones. Commercial and recreational fishing activities are prohibited in the 1 Zone, the most sensitive area, but Aboriginal fishing for food, social and ceremonial purposes is permitted.
  • In the 2 area, commercial trap, longline and handline fisheries are permitted to the extent that they are not directed at forage species.
  • Oil and gas activities, sewage discharge and gray water discharge by large vessels are prohibited throughout the Marine Protected Area.
  • The American Bench designation will protect 1000 km² of ocean and help fulfill the Government of Canada's commitment to protect 10% of Canada's marine and coastal areas by 2020.
  • The governments of Canada and Quebec are working together to protect this marine area which will have dual status: that of an aquatic reserve, according to Quebec legislation, and that of a marine protected area, under the Oceans Act

(extracts from interviews)
official release)