Wednesday May 29

07:30 - 08:00 : Registration



08:00 - 08:30 : Multiple environmental stressors caused by humans - an experimental approach to determine types of interactions and their culmulative effect on macrobenthic communities



Presented by:

Charlotte Carrier-Belleau (Université de Laval)

Human activities such as maritime transport, aquaculture or agricultural discards create environmental drivers affecting the structure and the functioning of benthic communities. While these disturbances can act individually, they can also act synergistically and lead to changes that are more difficult to anticipate. Therefore, studying the consequences of human activities on marine ecosystems is fundamental. This project is part of the Canadian Healthy Oceans Network (CHONe II) and attempts to identify the effect of the interaction of anthropogenic drivers (fresh water intake, increased temperature, nutrient input) on the macrobenthic invertebrate communities and macrophytobenthos of the St. Lawrence. A laboratory manipulative experiment was conducted in order to determine the influence of drivers on biological responses (mortality, growth, energy content in the tissues, shell mineralization, and microphythobenthos proliferation) on two common bivalves when taken individually, and when these drivers interact through time. Our results show that the stressors interact and have an impact on multiple levels of complexity and compartments thus creating non-linear changes more difficult to predict. For example, the interaction between the chronic salinity regime and the nutrient enrichment caused an antagonistic effect on the mortality of Mytilus edulis, the common blue mussel: the effect of the combined stressors was lower than the individual effect of each of these human drivers. By incorporating this knowledge of driver interactions, it will eventually contribute to species conservation and improve the management of maritime resources in the Gulf of St.Lawrence.




08:30 - 09:00 : Geospatial technologies in support of port- and maritime management


Presented by:

Jacques Charron (K2 Geospatial)


Port management - and knowledge about the marine environment generally - requires the use of several systems, whether it be for asset management and maintenance for example, operations management, weather and environmental monitoring, or real-time ship tracking for better shipping traffic. These available systems are generally used in isolation by specialists assigned to specific tasks. However, better integration of the information generated or managed by these systems allows us to optimise the coordination of operations, communication with stakeholders, and decision-making. The presentation will focus on the inherent challenges of a silo approach to information management, and on the advantages of making systems interoperable through geospatial technologies. Some examples and a live demonstration will provide a basis for reflecting on the inspiring “Smart Ports” initiatives.



09:00 - 09:30 : Bioremediation of oil spills in harbours and on shorelines: a promising cost effective way to minimize environmental damage


Presented by:

William A. Adams (RESTCo)

Hydrocarbons that are released into the environment either naturally or in accidental spills are degraded ultimately into non-toxic chemicals by biological processes. These processes occur even in the Arctic. Enhancing this natural bioremediation as a first response tool has been used to clean up spilled oil for several decades now throughout the world. The various approaches for using bioremediation, their mechanisms, and rate of action, will be discussed using examples from actual oil spills. Recent advances in this field and the pros and cons of bioremediation as a response tool for oil spills, including the use of enzymatic bioremediation, will be reviewed.



09:30 - 10:00 : Oil Spill Response, Recovery and Remediation for the 21st Century


Presented by:

Darryl McMahon (RESTCo)

As the world continues to use more oil, requiring it to be moved by pipeline, rail and ship, the technology used to respond to spills remains largely ineffective. While incremental improvements have occurred in the past 50+ years, overall we have not embraced innovation in the sector which could speed response, make clean-up far more effective by recovering oil and reduce overall costs and environmental impact by speeding the breakdown of residual oil. RESTCo has evaluated a number of innovative response tools, some of which have great potential to improve our oil spill response practice in many scenarios.



10:00 - 10:30 : Coffee break / Exhibits



10:30 - 11:00 : How can species at risk coexist with industrial port activities? A case study


Presented by:

Marie-Eve Lemieux (Port of Quebec)


In Canada and in Quebec, multiple species of flora and fauna have a legal protection status that must be taken into account in developers’ projected and day-to-day activities. Their presence - potential or confirmed - in certain areas, including industrial port areas, levies the conception and application of measures by developers in order to pursue the recovery and conservation efforts for these species.

A Bank swallow colony, a species listed as endangered in Canada, is known to nest on the beach adjacent to the port infrastructures managed by the Quebec Port Authorities (QPA). Conscious of the species situation and fragility, the QPA developed various projects, tools and surveys in the last 15 years in close collaboration with government authorities. The aim of this approach was to better identify the best ways to favour the long-term cohabitation of the Bank swallow and industrial port activities. Initiated in 2005, this Bank swallow conservation approach has not only allowed to increase the number of nests in the colony, but has also allowed to gather knowledge on developments which are favourable to population maintenance and increase.

This presentation draws a summary of this initiative, which allows to protect an endangered species in the context of industrial activities. The consultation activities, fieldwork and monitoring processes that let to the success of this initiative will be covered.



11:00 - 11:30 : Use of mineralogical analyses of marine sediments in studying sedimentary dynamics and environmental tracking


Presented by:

Jean-Carlos Monterro-Serrano (UQAR)

Grain size, mineral assemblages, and chemical composition are the fundamental attributes of detritic sediments. These attributes vary depending on petrology and distance to source zones. In this context, depending on their size, their mineral and chemical composition, and the location where they deposited, detritic mineral particles of marine sediments can provide precious information on the main sources of terrigenous inputs, the direction of oceanic currents, coastal erosion processes, as well as on possible anthropogenically impacted zones. The aim of this presentation is to show the usefulness of mineral analyses of marine sediments in the study of sediment dynamics and environmental tracking of a sedimentary basin. Two case studies will be presented, including the St. Lawrence Estuary and Gulf, and the Bay of Sept-Îles.



11:30 - 12:00 : Environmental footprint of a port zone: Nature's share


Presented by:

Richard Saint-Louis (UQAR)

The environmental footprint on the marine environment is one of the criteria that allows to assess the environmental performance of an industrial port zone. This criterion is of comprehensive nature, in that it can include modifications to the coastline, the water column, and the sediment. These modifications are physical (coastal anthropisation, current direction, sediment grain size), biological (productivity and biodiversity), and chemical (water quality, sediment quality). Evidently, any modification to the marine environment is only observable and measurable compared to a baseline. This baseline may be determined at the industrial port location itself prior to construction, or at a comparable location, far removed from any anthropogenic influence. There is no ambiguity in determining the physical environmental footprint of infrastructures. However, measuring biological and chemical modifications involves an environmental monitoring program (as suggested in Level 4 of Green Marine’s Environmental Leadership). Therein lies the challenge of determining the biological and chemical environmental footprint of an industrial port zone: what is the baseline? This question does not apply to contaminants that are strictly of synthetic origin such as tributyltin (TBT), which was the biocide of choice in antifouling paints until it was banned, and can only be of anthropogenic origin. However, particularly for sediments and particulate matter, metals such as chromium, nickel, copper or lead occur naturally in clays; and certain molecules of the PAH family associated with fossil fuels are also released by natural sources (e.g. forest fires). Defining the chemical baseline is even more challenging when the gap between the environmental footprint of the port zone and the baseline is small. In other words, if natural concentrations of metals and compounds that are considered as potentially polluting at a given location are close to threshold concentrations that can potentially cause toxic effects (NEC), the sediment quality could be considered as concerning. Should we therefore change the classic approach based on individual concentrations? A promising path to establishing the true value of the chemical environmental footprint of an industrial port zone is to determine the chemical signature of the baseline status, taking into account the most pertinent correlations between the measured metals and compounds.



12:00 - 13:00 : Lunch break








Organised and presented by M-Expertise Marine





The goal of this workshop is to examine our knowledge about the present situation of whales in the Gulf of St. Lawrence; in terms of their food, their movements, their ecology, fisheries, new technologies, constraints, the reality of maritime transport, etc. The workshop will end with a round-table discussion.



13:00 - 13:30 : Marine mammals in the Bay of Sept-Îles: history, ecology, and 2017 summary


Presented by:

Lyne Morissette (M - Expertise Marine)


The Bay of Sept-Îles is a rich ecosystem that hosts a high biodiversity, from plankton to the largest animals on the planet. As part of the development of INREST’s environmental monitoring observatory in the Bay of Sept-Îles, M-Expertise Marine led baseline data collection, as well as a summer inventory of marine mammals in the Sept-Îles sector. This marine mammal inventory aims to be a baseline for future long term comparisons, in order to assess the effects of environmental changes on various populations of the species that inhabit these waters. The inventory spanned from May to October 2017, comprising a total of 21 survey days, totalling 115 sighting hours. Seal species sightings tend to occur early and late in the season, whereas cetacean sightings increased from month to month, reaching a peak in August. Cetaceans sighted in 2017 were distributed across the study area, with large rorquals predominantly found off the islands, and smaller cetaceans (minke whale, harbour porpoise) found within the Bay. Cetaceans appear to frequent the western sector more than the eastern sector, where the Port is located. The various pinniped (seal) species observed in 2017 are mostly distributed along the coastal zone of the study area. The most commonly-observed species is the harbour seal, as opposed to the harp seal, which were seldom sighted. Contrary to cetaceans, seals do not appear to favour either the western or easter sectors, and can be equally found in the Port area and around Pointe Noire. Additionally to the 2017 inventory, our study presents a compilation of historical data available for marine mammals of the Sept-Îles sector, as well as complementary data from the Réseau d’Observation de Mammifères Marins (ROMM)’s geotag-presence database, as well as the Réseau Québécois d’Urgences pour les Mammifères Marins (RQUMM)’s stranding database. This inventory represents the first step of a long-term monitoring process. In order to ensure the robustness of this approach, a series of recommendations are made in order to improve future inventories, as well as the development and long term validity of this project.



13:30 - 14:00 : Testing ropeless technologies for crab fishing gear in the Gulf of St. Lawrence


Presented by:

Robert Haché (ACA)


Coauthors: Haché, R. (ACA); Therriault, Y (CORBO engineering); Noël, M. (ACA); Morissette, L. (M-Expertise Marine); Cormier, P. (CORBO Engineering)


After the mortality event of 2017 where 12 North Atlantic Right Whales died in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, as the situation verged on a state of crisis, a speed limit on ships was imposed to avoid vessel strikes, as well as attempts to make the fishing gear safer. In Crab Fishing Area (CFA) 12 and surrounding areas, the problem of fishery-related mortality and injury by entanglement in fishing gears is increasing, and there is an urgent need to find efficient solutions where crabbers and whales could co-exist in the Gulf. Association des CrabiersAcadiens, in collaboration with world-renowned experts, explored different solutions to decrease risks of entanglements by reducing the number of problematic ropes in the water column. The main challenge is that most measures and existing technologies have not been developed for snow crab fisheries and therefore, not tested or adopted by harvesters in CFA 12. One component of our project is to test different ropeless buoy trap prototypes by snow crab fishers after the 2018 fishing season and during the 2019 fishing season. Options explored thus far include an acoustically triggered release of a buoy attached to a bag of rope on the trap at sea bottom. Once triggered, the buoy and the rope float to the surface, or triggered CO2 inflatable devices attached directly to the trap, which would itself float to the surface once triggered. Sea trials are performed with crabbers of our association in various pre-selected conditions on the fishing grounds. Successes and remaining challenges of these new technologies are discussed here, and we seek for insights from workshop participants to further develop ropeless crab traps, and eventually find an efficient solution to this great conservation challenge.




14:00 - 14:30 : Thermal cameras - The development of marine mammal detection technology


Presented by:

Jerôme Laurent (Merinov)


Marine mammal observations are carried out along coastal and offshore marine developments, as required by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ marine mammal monitoring program. These programs are applied in order to limit disturbance to vulnerable nearby marine mammals caused by construction sites. Observers are used to record the presence of marine mammals and to report when they are detected in the relevant zone. Visual surveying has certain drawbacks, especially during periods of poor visibility (foggy or bad weather, nighttime, etc). This can impact certain developments in their ability to carry out their work in compliance with their obligation to ensure sufficient visibility to detect the presence of cetaceans. In case of bad visibility conditions, their activities may be suspended, leading to additional operational costs, and consequently, an increased disturbance period for any marine mammals present. Therefore, a promising detection technology has been tested by Merinov and their partners since 2017: a thermal camera. As part of phase 2 of the project, imagery was collected during the fall of 2018 at two sites, thanks to a panoramic thermal camera in the St. Lawrence estuary: in Tadoussac, where there is a high presence of marine mammals; and in Rivière-du-Loup, during the dredging works carried out by the Société des Traversiers du Québec. The camera that was used was the Night NavigatorTM 6030 model, from the Canadian company Current Scientific Corporation. Several marine mammal species were sighted, including belugas, minke whales, fin whales, and humpback whales. Images were collected day and night in varying weather conditions. This promising ongoing project will allow to optimise the monitoring of construction sites both by day and by night, and in good and bad weather.  After optimizing and automating the system, this detection tool could be applied to other situations where constant marine mammal monitoring is required.  


14:30 - 15:00 : The cumulative effect of right whale regulations and the upcoming application of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) on fisheries


Presented by:

Serge Langelier (AMIK)


Coauthors: Yan Tremblay (UAPAN), Serge Langelier (AMIK)


Following the loss of 17 right whales in 2017, DFO has imposed new regulations for right whales. This has led to a series of modifications to fishing gear for the 2018 and 2019 fishing season.

On the other hand, the USA have adopted the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA). According to this law, the USA can block sales on their territory of any products coming from fisheries that do not respect marine mammals. The majority of fisheries located in the Gulf of St. Lawrence have to adapt to this new reality.


15:00 - 15:30 : Coffee break / Exhibits



15:30 - 16:00 : Mitigating the risk of ship strikes through a collaborative approach


Presented by:

Véronique Nolet (Green Marine)

The endangered North Atlantic Right Whales (NARW) have had a hard time in 2017 in Canadian waters with 12 dead right whales found in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and another 5 found in US waters. In August 2017, in reaction to these events, the shipping industry quickly realized that they were facing an abnormal situation and it was urgent to team up with all relevant stakeholders, including Government representatives, in order to find a way to reduce the risk of ship strikes between a commercial vessel and a whale in this area of the Gulf. This presentation will discuss the collaborative approach chosen by the industry and the implementation of a dynamic management measures in the Gulf of St. Lawrence


16:00 - 16:30 : 40 years of cetacean research in the St. Lawrence - lessons for the future


Presented by:

Viridiana Jimenez (MICS)


Coauthors: Christian Ramp (MICS), Viridiana Jimenez

Mingan Island Cetacean Study (MICS) has been conducting research on baleen whales in the St. Lawrence since 1979, having initiated the first long-term blue whale study worldwide. Over the past 40 years, the core objective has been to monitor the population parameters and status of mainly blue, fin, humpback, and minke whales, and monitor their recovery. MICS has accrued one of the largest datasets on baleen whales, thus creating one of the very few multiple-species studies in the world. This long-term data set has enabled MICS to monitor changes in these populations over time, such as survival and reproductive rates, changes in distribution and habitat preferences, and adaptations to climate change. In order to further investigate these changes, MICS has adopted new technologies and methods, and is now collaborating with multiple international laboratories on genetics and physiology in order to investigate the relatedness, prey preferences and general body condition of the animals. MICS has also applied technologies such as tags and Unmanned Aerial Systems (drones) to investigate foraging behaviour, habitat use, migration, and anthropogenic threats, in order to provide evidence-based recommendations for decision-making in management and conservation, and to fill salient knowledge gaps. This presentation will give an overview of MICS’ research methods and findings from the past 40 years, and present its current projects and a view for future projects in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and North Atlantic Ocean.


16:30 - 17:00 : Cumulative effects of marine vessel activities


Presented by:

Catherine Guillemette (Transport Canada)

As part of the Oceans Protection Plan, Transport Canada has been working collaboratively on a Cumulative Effects of Marine Vessel Activity Initiative at six pilot sites on Canada’s coast (including one in the St. Lawrence) since 2017. Transports Canada works with Indigenous peoples, local marine stakeholders, academics and other government departments. Together we determine key concerns and collect information which will be used to inform our assessments. The results of this initiative will include the collection and amalgamation of existing data such as marine vessel movements, Indigenous use, environmental and cultural data; development of the National Cumulative Effects Assessment Framework and its application in the pilot sites; and the identification of potential tools and strategies that can be applied to mitigate the effects of existing and future vessel movements. The data, framework, and tools developed will support evidence-based decisions that will guide economic growth while preserving marine ecosystems and aim to improve the understanding of cumulative effects from marine vessel activities. The presentation will summarize the work and engagement that has been done so far in this 5-year initiative as well as the next steps.



17:00 - 18:00 : ROUND TABLE - Workshop conclusions




18:30 - 22:00 : Dinner - A taste of the North Shore


A tasting menu will be served, featuring local delicacies and traditional dishes, accompanied by entertainment.

Location: Terrasse du Capitaine

Price: $50