Parks Canada has changed the rules in consultation with the whale watch providers in order to limit collisions with marine mammals
Each year the park Saguenay St. Lawrence welcomes 400,000 visitors a recreational boat, whale watching or kayaking. According to the census of 2007, as many as 13,000 sorties were comptablisées between May and October for excursions at sea. Given that the marine park has 53 active licenses, it gives a good idea of the importance of maritime traffic to manage. The Minister of Environment and Climate Change and Minister responsible for Parks Canada, Catherine McKenna, has announced changes to the Regulations on marine activities in the Saguenay-Saint-Laurent (RAM), designed to avoid maximum collisions with marine mammals.
The regulatory amendments in force from January 2017 specify how to behave in the presence of belugas. The ban voluntarily approaching an endangered species within 400 meters still applies. The speed limit for excursion and recreational boats traveling at the mouth of the Saguenay Fjord is reduced while the watercraft, hovercraft and towed water sports are now banned within the Marine Park boundaries.
Not more than 10 vessels at each observation area at a time will be allowed
Furthermore the definition of disturbance of marine mammals is specified and the number of boats is limited in an observation area entre 200 and 100 meters. Finally, a sea excursion boat pilot certification system and sea kayak guides is Introduced Including mandatory training on the Marine Park and the RAM and an annual knowledge test to obtenir a certificate.
Regulatory Improvements Were made in a spirit of cooperation, and received support, Including the Coordinating Committee of the Marine Park, the Harmonization Committee Canada-Quebec, co-manager of the park, the League of institutions outdoor Québec (Sépaq), sea excursion companies members of the Eco-Whale Alliance, and the Group for research and education on marine mammals (GREMM).