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Promoting Sustainable Management of Fishery Resources

Sustainable use is contingent on the sustainable management of aquatic species subject to fishery. In this context, it is especially important to take stock of existing knowledge on fishery resources and to establish mechanisms for distributing and sharing information.

Projects 2021-2026

To develop and enhance the striped bass sport fishery in Quebec

The knowledge acquired during the 2016-2021 program has made it possible to increase striped bass sport fishing in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence, in the Gaspé and in the North Shore and Lower St. Lawrence sectors. Considering the undeniable popularity of this activity, this project aims, among other things, to continue the development of the striped bass sport fishery in the St. Lawrence.

The St. Lawrence striped bass population is showing encouraging signs of recovery. However, knowledge acquisition efforts must be maintained to determine whether the species has fully reintegrated into its ecosystem and has the potential to support a sport fishery. The project also aims to continue to achieve recovery targets for the striped bass population of the river. To this end, monitoring to quantify the status of the populations and the level of exploitation will be continued.

The data collected for this project can be used as a baseline for future comparisons, modelling and projections related to the effects of climate change.

To determine the use of the river by species targeted by sport and commercial fisheries in Quebec

Since 2011, Quebec’s Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs and Fisheries and Oceans Canada have established a network of fixed-station acoustic receivers to monitor the use of the St. Lawrence by several fish species, particularly American eel, striped bass and Atlantic salmon. Between 2016 and 2021, species at risk, as well as species targeted by sport and commercial fisheries, have been added to the monitoring. These include muskellunge, lake and Atlantic sturgeon, copper redhorse, anadromous brook trout, bluefin tuna and cod, among others.

One of the project’s objectives is to maintain this network in order to have detailed knowledge of the use of the territory by the species of interest and to share information among organizations in order to adapt management measures accordingly. The project also aims to ensure the sustainable use of fish resources, biodiversity and aquatic habitats of the St. Lawrence.

In the long term, this network would also make it possible to detect changes in the use of St. Lawrence habitats in response to climate and environmental changes.

Measuring the recruitment index of rainbow smelt in the Saguenay Fjord

Rainbow smelt is the target of a winter recreational fishery in the Saguenay Fjord that generates significant economic benefits. In addition, through its ecological role, it contributes to the maintenance of the biodiversity of the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park. Despite its importance, knowledge of the Saguenay rainbow smelt is limited. There are no indicators for assessing the status of the population, despite the pressures that human activities can potentially place on it.

The objective of the project is to design and implement a smelt recruitment monitoring program in the Saguenay River and Fjord. The monitoring results will be linked to various abiotic factors that may influence recruitment. Links will also be made with the success of the winter smelt recreational fishery, the success of the anadromous brook trout recreational fishery and the monitoring of the abundance of spawning anadromous brook trout returns from at least two rivers that flow into the Saguenay. In the long term, these data will help improve the management of the smelt and brook trout fisheries.

Characterization of summer sport fishing on the Saguenay River

The project aims to design and implement monitoring of the anadromous brook trout fishery on the Saguenay River and Fjord. The monitoring will be linked to the success of the winter recreational fishery for marine species, the results of the smelt recruitment index, the success of the summer recreational fishery for anadromous brook trout, and the monitoring of the abundance of spawning runs of anadromous brook trout in two rivers that flow into the Saguenay. In the long term, the data will help improve the management of the anadromous brook trout and marine species fisheries.

Monitoring carried out within the framework of the project will also serve as a baseline for evaluating whether there are changes in the migration and spawning dates of the species in relation to climate change. The data obtained will also be used to evaluate the potential effects of temperature changes on survival and release conditions.

Project 2016-2021

Develop and promote sport fishing on the St. Lawrence and implement incentive measures

The St. Lawrence offers exceptional opportunities for those interested in trying out sport fishing or taking it up again after a period of inactivity. The project brings together initiatives targeting the development and promotion of sport fishing on the St. Lawrence. The striped bass<svg aria-labelledby="svgExternalLink" class="ico-lienexterne" role="img"><title id="svgExternalLink">External link</title><use href="#ico_lienexterne" /></svg> (french only) represents the species with the greatest potential for developing sport fishing in the coming years. For example, the new presence of striped bass south of the Gaspésie offers the opportunity to develop sport fishing in this region of Quebec. In addition, following the success of the program to reintroduce a new striped bass population in the St. Lawrence Estuary<svg aria-labelledby="svgExternalLink" class="ico-lienexterne" role="img"><title id="svgExternalLink">External link</title><use href="#ico_lienexterne" /></svg> (french only), it will be necessary to establish the conditions required for opening sport fishing of this species.

The monitoring of the evolution of seabass sport fishing allow to evaluate the impact on this population and to enhance access to this sport in Gaspesie. The project led to many scientific articles:

Vanalderweireldt, L., Winkler, G., Mingelbier, M., Sirois, P. 2019a. Early growth, mortality, and partial migration of striped bass (Morone saxatilis) larvae and juveniles in the St. Lawrence estuary, Canada. ICES Journal of Marine Science 76(7): 2235–2246 https://doi.org/10.1093/icesjms/fsz116<svg aria-labelledby="svgExternalLink" class="ico-lienexterne" role="img"><title id="svgExternalLink">External link</title><use href="#ico_lienexterne" /></svg> 

Vanalderweireldt, L., Winkler, G., Mingelbier, M., Sirois, P. 2019b. Feeding ecology of early life stages of striped bass (Morone saxatilis) along an estuarine salinity-turbidity gradient, St. Lawrence Estuary, Canada. Journal of Plankton Research 41(4): 507–520 https://doi.org/10.1093/plankt/fbz031<svg aria-labelledby="svgExternalLink" class="ico-lienexterne" role="img"><title id="svgExternalLink">External link</title><use href="#ico_lienexterne" /></svg> 

Vanalderweireldt, L., Winkler, G., Forget-Lacoursière, E.-L., Mingelbier, M., Sirois, P. 2020. Habitat use by early life stages of the re-established striped bass and conspecific fish species along the St. Lawrence estuary. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science vol. 237 doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2020.106696 &nbsp;

Projects 2011-2016

Maintain an inventory of and share information derived from databases on fishery resources

The purpose of this project is to maintain an inventory of all existing databases on marine, freshwater and diadromous stocks, marine and freshwater habitats and activities and other information relating to salt water and freshwater fishery resources. The objective of this initiative is to increase the transparency of the scientific data used to inform decisions about managing fishery resources.

Read the backgrounder for this project.

Pool expertise in fishery resources management

The aim of this project is to support fishery resource managers in the governments of Canada and Quebec in sharing their expertise with each other and with experts from academia and at research centres.

Read the backgrounder for this project.

Establish a network for sharing information on fishery resources management

This project involves establishing a network to facilitate exchanges between stakeholders in the fishery resources sector on issues such as ecocertification, traceability, industry rationalization, product marketing, sustainable fishing and resource conservation tools. This initiative will support the sustainable development of fishery resources while promoting the convergence of multiple objectives and visions.

Read the backgrounder for this project.