Update 2003

Since 1970, the Zoological Society of Montreal has taken a special interest in the conservation of whales in the region. It is the only specialized non-profit organization in Montreal to have organized 28 consecutive successful seasons of whale-watching. In 1998, concerned with the increase in cases of harrassment of whales, the Society called a temporary halt to its trips.

On February 20, 2002, the new Marine Activities in the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park Regulations (SOR/2002-76), relative to whale-watching in the Saint Lawrence, was annexed to the Saguenay-St.Lawrence Marine Park Act (Dec. 10, 1997), culminating over 3 years of consultation. We like to think that the Society was one of the prime movers in getting the whole thing off the ground, with the above embargo, and the creation of our web site, whose main objective at the time was to lobby various government and other agencies to take urgent action with regard to protection of the whales.

Note: Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) is proposing to amend the existing Marine Mammal Regulations and is inviting the public to participate in the Marine Mammal Regulation Consultations. Winter 2003/2004

The proposed amended regulations are to be presented to the general public in the spring of 2004 before the parliamentary process begins.

In September 2003, the Society operated an exploratory trip to see for itself the results of the application of the new Regulations. It is generally agreed that conditions observed on that trip showed considerable improvement over what was experienced on earlier trips. The boats appeared to be keeping their distance, and the Zodiacs no longer took chase after the whales. The resident naturalist seemed satisfied with the manner in which the regulations were being followed.

A whale-watching trip is planned for August 2004. We also intend to keep ourselves informed on ongoing conditions in the Tadoussac area.

Also, at this time our Directors want to go on record as recognizing the very substantial contribution to the project by our Past President, Marlene Harris.

For a more detailed account of the Society's involvement, click here.

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This page last modified on: Tuesday, May 18, 2004

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