Representative of the natural region known as the Saguenay Fjord and made exceptional by the presence of the fjord, the Parc national du Saguenay was created to protect and highlight the lands of this rich natural patrimony.
Parc national du Saguenay is a conservation park that was established to protect and promote a representative and unique section of the Saguenay Fjord natural region.
The defining feature of the park is, without question, the deep, glacial valley known as the Saguenay Fjord. The fjord's sheer cliffs are ideal nesting sites for peregrine falcons, and the park's combination of woodland and marine habitats makes for a surprising degree of biological diversity.
Park forests are home to wolves, black bears, lynx, beaver, and moose, whereas herds of harbour seals and pods of beluga whales can be seen from shore in the waters of the fjord. In addition, fish species such as migratory speckled trout and Atlantic salmon frequent both the fresh and salt water ecosystems of the park at different phases of their life cycles.
The merging of the Saguenay and St. Lawrence rivers creates a zone of lapping waters where whales, seals and seabirds can feed at a kind of enormous buffet. A little farther along the estuary, the landscape opens up to wide marine terraces, relics of the last melting glaciers and the rising up of the continent. An important stopover for migrating birds, this site also harbours rare and
delicate plant life.
Let's Break the Ice!
Over the past 20 years, ice fishing has become extremely popular with people who live in the Saguenay region. With a total of 1,100 fishing shacks scattered throughout different villages, fishing is very intensive right now..
What is the impact of so much fishing on the fjord's fish populations? How can you help protect these fish and this exceptional environment? What can you do to make your activity safer?
To find out more, pick up a copy of the tide chart and the catch chart from Parc marin du Saguenay – Saint-Laurent and slide it into your pocket before sliding onto the ice!
Ice Fishing ... A Real Privilege!
In the early years of ice fishing, there was talk of nearly "miraculous" fishing on the Saguenay: mountains of redfish , pails full of smelt, masses of halibut ... there are countless stories! Did you know that recreational fishing of bottom fish is closed throughout the entire Atlantic in the winter, except on the Saguenay? So fishing here is a real privilege! It is up to us to fish in a way
that will keep it sustainable!
Are Saguenay Fish Populations Regenerating?
Although it is grandiose, the fjord is not very biologically productive. Its layer of surface water produces very little plankton, at the bottom of the marine food chain. Sea water from the Saint Lawrence brings in plankton that feeds organisms in the fjord, and life in the Saguenay is very dependent on the occasional importation of nutrients from the estuary.
The most-studied species is smelt, a fish that plays an essential role in the fjord's ecosystem, since several species feed on it. We know that Saguenay smelt is not the same as Saint Lawrence smelt, which reveals that it spends its entire life in the fjord. Since spawning grounds were identified in the Saguenay and fishers have caught small smelt, we also know that smelt populations regenerate.
It is a different story for marine species like redfish, cod or halibut. Because of the unique conditions in this body of water, it is not known if these species reproduce successfully in the fjord.
There may be certain environmental factors that hinder the renewal of bottom fish populations, such as the surface layer of fresh water, strong currents and limited exchanges between Saguenay and Saint Lawrence fish. What's more, contrary to popular opinion, marine species in general do not necessarily reproduce successfully each year. In the Saguenay, redfish in the same age group (or cohort) are caught year after year, and a renewal of the population has not yet been observed. This situation is worrisome because it may endanger the viability of populations facing intensive sports fishing.
Tadoussac - An Exceptional Site for Migration Observation!
For many years, the Tadoussac area has been recognized as a site of choice for observing the autumn migrations of bird fauna. Not inclined to cross large stretches of water, northern birds migrating to the south have a tendency to travel along the northern coast of the St. Lawrence and cross more easily upstream, where it is narrower. This causes a concentration of birds in Tadoussac. In 1993, aware of the area’s huge potential, scientists founded Observatoire d’oiseaux de Tadoussac (OOT) in partnership with Parc national du Saguenay. It is the first observatory dedicated to bird fauna in Québec. Since then, the organization has become a true pioneer in studying the demographic development of boreal species.
The research consists of two main activities – visual readings and a banding station. The objective of the visual readings is to count the migrating birds from two observation platforms. An average of some 15,000 birds of prey and 290,000 other bird species are tallied here each autumn. Among the migrating species observed annually is the Peregrine Falcon, the emblem of Parc national du Saguenay. This bird is classified as a vulnerable species. Since 1993, an average of 75 of them is spotted each year. The banding station consists of Japanese nets where passerines are captured in the daytime and owls at night. Each bird is carefully weighed, measured and banded before being released. The little bands allow scientists to recognize a bird when it is captured again and to document its movements. If the subject interests you, visit the OOT Website to learn more.
Parc national du Saguenay is a privileged partner in this remarkable research. In addition to welcoming OOT researchers each year, park wardens in the Baie-de-Tadoussac sector offer discovery activities about the organization’s work. Consult the calendar of discovery activities and special events to find out more!