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    The dataset represents known concentration areas of harvested or unharvested Softshell clam (Mya arenaria) in the intertidal zone of the Estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec region. The dataset was created for the National environmental emergencies centre (NEEC) for preparation and response in case of an oil spill. Concentration areas were defined using Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) inventories conducted between 2000 and 2020. This layer is dependent on the inventories carried out and thus only represents known clam areas. For example, for the Haute-Côte-Nord, inventories have been limited to areas open to harvesting (with the exception of 4 sectors), but it is known that the Softshell clam is also present outside these areas. In addition, little information was available for the Moyenne and Basse-Côte-Nord. This data layer does not represent the general distribution of the species nor the extent to which fishing is allowed. The extent of shellfish beds may vary over time in response to, among others harvesting and the recruitment rates. The boundaries of polygons from inventory data may be underestimated relative to the actual size of the deposit since the inventories were conducted at the location where the resource is most abundant, without necessarily sampling the entire bed. However, the accuracy is sufficient for the protection and management needs of the resource in the event of an environmental incident. Data sources and references: Brulotte, S. 2011. Évaluation des stocks de mye commune des eaux côtières du Québec. Secr. can. de consult. sci. du MPO. Doc. de rech. 2011/044. x + 53 p. Brulotte, S. 2018. Évaluation de la mye commune (Mya arenaria) des eaux côtières du Québec en 2016 – méthodologie et résultats. Secr. can. de consult. sci. du MPO. Doc. de rech. 2018/004. ix + 60 p. Brulotte, S. 2020. Évaluation des stocks de la mye commune (Mya arenaria) des eaux côtières du Québec en 2019 – méthodologie et résultats. Secr. can. de consult. sci. du MPO. Doc. de rech. 2020/055. vii + 43 p. Brulotte, S. 2022. Résultats des inventaires de gisements de mye commune (Mya arenaria) réalisés de 2016 à 2020 et mise à jour des résultats de ceux effectués de 2001 à 2014 au Québec. Secr. can. de consult. sci. du MPO. Doc. de rech. 2022/xxx. (in progress) Brulotte, S. and M. Giguère. 2003. Évaluation d'un gisement de mye commune (Mya arenaria) de l'embouchure de la rivière Mingan, Québec, Rapp. can. ind. sci. halieut. aquat. No. 2511: xi + 58. Brulotte, S., M. Giguère, S. Brillon and F. Bourque. 2006. Évaluation de cinq gisements de mye commune (Mya arenaria) aux Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Québec, de 2000 à 2003. Rapp. tech. can. sci. halieut. aquat. 2640 : xii + 92 p. Brulotte, S., Giguère, M. and Duluc, C. 2015. Essais de techniques de captage du naissain de mye commune (Mya arenaria) sur la rive nord de l’estuaire et du golfe du Saint-Laurent. Rapp. tech. can. sci. halieut. aquat. 3084 : ix + 60 p. Giguère, M., S. Brulotte and F. Hartog.2007. Évaluation de quelques gisements de mye commune (Mya arenaria) de la rive sud de l'estuaire du Saint-Laurent en 2005 et 2006. Rapp. can. ind. sci. halieut. aquat. No. 2738: xi + 107. Giguère, M., S. Brulotte, M. Boudreau and M.-F. Dréan. 2008. Évaluation de huit gisements de mye commune (Mya arenaria) de la rive nord de l’estuaire du Saint-Laurent de 2002 à 2008. Rapp. tech. can. sci. halieut. aquat. 2821 : x + 91 p. Roy, I., M. Giguère, S. Brulotte and M. Gagnon. 2003. Évaluation de douze gisements de mye commune (Mya arenaria) du sud de la Gaspésie, Rapp. Tech. can. sci. halieut. aquat. 2469: xvi + 140 p.

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    This layer represents the seasonal distribution of the St. Lawrence Estuary beluga whale population (Delphinapterus leucas). Three groups are represented: females with calf, adult males and mixed sectors. Herd distribution was defined using Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) published data about beluga whales (see references). Herd distribution areas are only valid during the summer, and the uses of these areas by the herds are unknown. Data source : Michaud, R. 1993. Distribution estivale du béluga du St-Laurent; synthèse 1986-1992. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 1906: vi + 28 p.

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    This layer represents the seasonal distribution of St. Lawrence Estuary beluga whale population (Delphinapterus leucas). Summer distribution is based on many surveys conducted between the end of August and early September. Fall and winter distributions are based on aerial surveys conducted during mid-October, November and from December to March 1989-1990. Spring distribution is based on anecdotal reports and two aerial surveys conducted in late April and early June 1990. Beluga whale seasonal distribution can change according to sea ice cover, predation risk and food availability. This layer represents the general seasonal distribution and does not account for the sexual segregation among males and females in the St. Lawrence Estuary. This layer do not represent the beluga's critical habitat. See the data layer “Beluga whale critical habitat in the Saguenay River and the St. Lawrence Estuary” (https://open.canada.ca/data/en/dataset/fdfef550-b94c-466c-9dcb-24c297c00e3e). Data source : Mosnier, A., Lesage, V., Gosselin, J.-F., Lemieux Lefebvre, S., Hammill, M. O., Doniol-Valcroze, T. 2010. Information relevant to the documentation of habitat use by St. Lawrence beluga (Delphinapterus leucas), and quantification of habitat quality. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec., Res. Doc. 2009/098. iv + 35 p.

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    This layer represents the relative summer density of beluga calves in the St. Lawrence Estuary based on 35 aerial surveys carried out from 1990 to 2009. The boundaries of the areas were determined by combining the highest densities until the desired proportion of the population was obtained using kernel density estimation in order to obtain a smooth and continuous density distribution. Within Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the ecosystem approach is considered as a tool for operational planning, project implementation and preparation of advisory reports. In response to this strategic direction, the DFO science division is committed to implement the ecosystem approach in its activities as Ecosystem Research Initiatives (ERI) in each of the six administrative regions of DFO. In the Quebec region, two pilot projects were implemented, of which one aimed to define and characterize the habitat of the St. Lawrence beluga (Delphinapterus leucas). Data sources and references: DFO. 2016. Ecosystem Research Initiative (ERI): Integrated Advice on the Summer Habitat of the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2016/030. Mosnier, A., R. Larocque, M. Lebeuf, J.-F. Gosselin, S. Dubé, V. Lapointe, V. Lesage, V., H. Bourdages, D. Lefaivre, S. Senneville and C. Chion. 2016. Définition et caractérisation de l'habitat du béluga (Delphinapterus leucas) de l'estuaire du Saint-Laurent selon une approche écosystémique. Secr. can. de consult. sci. du MPO. Doc. de rech. 2016/052. vi + 93 p.

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    This layer represents the Harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus) distribution. During the summer, the Harp seal is in Arctic and it migrates south of its distribution range during the fall. It migrates back to the Arctic after the moulting period which occurs in April and May. Reference: DFO. 2020. 2019 Status of Northwest Atlantic Harp Seals, Pagophilus groenlandicus. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2020/020.

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    The dataset represents known concentration areas of harvested or unharvested Atlantic surfclam (Spisula solidissima) in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, around the Magdalen Islands. The dataset was created for the National environmental emergencies center (NEEC) for preparation and response in case of an oil spill. Concentration areas were delineated using Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) inventories conducted between 2000 and 2020, commercial fisheries data (logbooks and purchase receipts from 2002 to 2020 and observations at sea from 2005 to 2017), data from exploratory fisheries as well as interviews. This layer is dependent on the inventories carried out and thus only represents the known areas of the Atlantic surfclam. This dataset does not represent the general distribution of the species nor the extent to which fishing is allowed. Most of the information comes from inventories that did not necessarily target this species, therefore its distribution is undoubtedly wider than what is recorded in this layer. In addition, the extent of shellfish beds can change over time in response to, among others, harvesting and recruitment rates. Some concentration areas were delimited based on interviews with people who locally know the resource but their delimitation remains approximate. The polygons delimited based on sampling data are more precise but might underestimate the concentration areas because sampling was made where the target resource was known to be more abundant without necessarily sampling the entire bed. Nonetheless, the precision is sufficient for resource protection and management needs in case of an environmental incident. Data sources and references: Bio-Conseil. 1986. Pêche exploratoire à la palourde (Spisula solidissima) aux Îles-de-la-Madeleine, automne 1985. Rapport final, Bio-Conseil, Pêches et Océans Canada. 24 p. Bernier, L. and L. Poirier. 1979. Evaluation sommaire du stock de mactres de l'Atlantique, Spisula solidissima Dillwyn, des Îles-de-la-Madeleine (golfe du St-Laurent). Cahier d'information, ministère de l'Industrie et du Commerce. 42 p. Bourget, E. and D. Messier. 1983. Macrobenthic density, biomass, and fauna of intertidal and subtidal sand in a Magdalen Islands lagoon, Gulf of St. Lawrence. Can. J. Zool. 61(11):2509-2518. Brulotte, S. 2013. Évaluation des stocks de la mactre de l’Atlantique, Spisula solidissima, des eaux côtières des Îles-de-la-Madeleine – méthodologies et résultats. Secr. can. de consult. sci. du MPO. Doc. de rech. 2013/082: x + 58 p . Brulotte, S. 2016. Évaluation des stocks de mactre de l’Atlantique, Spisula solidissima, des Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Québec en 2015 – méthodologie et résultats. Secr. can. de consult. sci. du MPO. Doc. de rech. 2016/074. x + 51 p. DFO. 2016. Stock Assessment of Atlantic Surfclam of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine in 2015. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2016/022. DFO. 2019. Assessment of the Îles-de-la-Madeleine Atlantic Surfclam stock in 2018. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2019/031. Fréchette, M. and M. Giguère. 1984. Rapport sur une pêche exploratoire à la palourde aux Îles-de-la-Madeleine en 1984. Pêches et Océans Canada. 17 p. Hurlbut, T and D. Clay. 1990. Protocols for research vessel cruises within the Gulf region (demersal fish) (1970-1987). Can. Manuscr. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2082:143p. Hurtubise, S. (Fisheries Data [ZIFF] and At-Sea Observers Manager). Unpublished data. Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

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    This layer represents the relative summer density of belugas in the St. Lawrence Estuary based on 35 aerial surveys carried out from 1990 to 2009. The boundaries of the areas were determined by combining the highest densities until the desired proportion of the population was obtained using kernel density estimation in order to obtain a smooth and continuous density distribution. Within Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO), the ecosystem approach is considered a tool for operational planning, project implementation and preparation of advisory reports. In response to this strategic direction, the DFO science division is committed to implement the ecosystem approach in its activities as Ecosystem Research Initiatives (ERI) in each of the six administrative regions of DFO. In the Quebec region, two pilot projects were implemented, of which one aimed to define and characterize the habitat of the St. Lawrence beluga (Delphinapterus leucas). Data sources and references: DFO. 2016. Ecosystem Research Initiative (ERI): Integrated Advice on the Summer Habitat of the St. Lawrence Estuary Beluga (Delphinapterus leucas). DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2016/030. Mosnier, A., R. Larocque, M. Lebeuf, J.-F. Gosselin, S. Dubé, V. Lapointe, V. Lesage, V., H. Bourdages, D. Lefaivre, S. Senneville and C. Chion. 2016. Définition et caractérisation de l'habitat du béluga (Delphinapterus leucas) de l'estuaire du Saint-Laurent selon une approche écosystémique. Secr. can. de consult. sci. du MPO. Doc. de rech. 2016/052. vi + 93 p.

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    The dataset represents known concentration areas of harvested or unharvested Atlantic razor clam (Ensis leei) in the Estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Quebec Region. It was created for the National Environmental Emergencies Centre (NEEC) for preparation and response purposes in case of an oil spill. Concentration areas were defined using data from Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) inventories, various DFO research projects and commercial fisheries data. This layer is dependent on the inventories carried out and thus only represents the known areas of the Atlantic razor clam. This dataset does not represent the general distribution of the species nor the extent to which fishing is allowed. Most of the information comes from inventories that did not necessarily target this species, therefore its distribution is undoubtedly wider than what is recorded in the layer. In addition, the extent of shellfish beds can change over time in response to, among others, harvesting and recruitment rates. Some beds were mapped based on DFO research project data which were compiled in a benthic biodiversity Access database. Polygons drawn around these data are not precise and may be reviewed. However, the precision is sufficient for the resource protection and management needs in case of an environmental incident. Data sources and references: Anonym. 1991. Analyse de l'échantillonnage en mer des mactres de Stimpson. Programme d'adaptation des pêches de l'Atlantique. Pesca tec International. Pêches et Océans Canada. 134 p. Bernier, L. and L. Poirier. 1979. Évaluation sommaire du stock de mactres de l'Atlantique, Spisula solidissima Dillwyn, des Îles-de-la-Madeleine (golfe du Saint-Laurent). Cahier d'information, ministère de l'Industrie et du Commerce. 42 p. Bourdages, H., P. Goudreau, J. Lambert, L. Landry and C. Nozères. 2012. Distribution des bivalves et gastéropodes benthiques dans les zones infralittorale et circalittorale des côtes de l’estuaire et du nord du golfe du Saint-Laurent. Rapp. tech. can. sci. halieut. aquat. 3004 : iv + 103 p. Bourget, E. and D. Messier. 1983. Macrobenthic density, biomass, and fauna of intertidal and subtidal sand in a Magdalen Islands lagoon, Gulf of St. Lawrence. Can. J. Zool. 61(11):2509-2518. Brulotte, S. Unpublished data. Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Brulotte, S. 2013. Évaluation des stocks de la mactre de l’Atlantique, Spisula solidissima, des eaux côtières des Îles-de-la-Madeleine – méthodologies et résultats. Secr. can. de consult. sci. du MPO. Doc. de rech. 2013/082: x + 58 p. Brulotte, S. 2016. Évaluation des stocks de mactre de l’Atlantique, Spisula solidissima, des Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Québec en 2015 – méthodologie et résultats. Secr. can. de consult. sci. du MPO. Doc. de rech. 2016/074. x + 51 p. Brulotte, S., M. Giguère, S. Brillon and F. Bourque. 2006. Évaluation de cinq gisements de mye commune (Mya arenaria) aux Îles-de-la-Madeleine, Québec, de 2000 à 2003. Rapp. Tech. can. Sci. halieut. Aquat. 2640 : xii + 92 p. DFO. 2013. Assessment of Razor Clam stock in Québec’s Inshore Waters in 2012. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2013/052. Elouard, B, G. Desrosiers, J.C. Brêthes and Y. Vigneault. 1983. Étude de l'habitat du poisson autour des ilots créés par des déblais de dragage; lagune de Grande-Entrée, Îles-de-la-Madeleine. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 1209:viii + 69 p. Gendreau, Y. 2018. MS Access database on benthic biodiversity. Fisheries and Oceans Canada. Provencher, L. and C. Nozères. 2011. Protocole de suivi des communautés benthiques de la zone de protection marine Manicouagan. Secr. can. de consult. sci. du MPO. Doc. de rech. 2011/051:iv +25 p. Thompson, M., D. Drolet and J.H. Himmelman. 2005. Localization of infaunal prey by the sea star Leptasterias polaris. Mar. Biol. 146(5):887-894.

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    This layer represents important areas for the Harp seal (Pagophilus groenlandicus). It includes the three main pupping areas for this species and migratory pathways used by Harp seals to migrate between its summering (Baffin Bay) and wintering (Gulf of St. Lawrence and Newfoundland and Labrador coasts) areas. Note that this dataset do not represent the Harp seal distribution. Reference: DFO. 2020. 2019 Status of Northwest Atlantic Harp Seals, Pagophilus groenlandicus. DFO Can. Sci. Advis. Sec. Sci. Advis. Rep. 2020/020.

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    Most of the data were collected during aerial surveys carried out at low tides during June and August 1994-1997, 2000 and 2001. June and August are respectively pupping and moulting seasons, when the haulout sites are intensively used by seals. Features in this layer show the Harbour seal distribution and the mean abundance for all aerial surveys (tables 3 and 5, figures 3 and 5 from Robillard et al. 2005). In the estuary, areas of high abundance have more than 30 individuals, areas of medium abundance have between 10 and 30 individuals and areas of low abundance have fewer than 10 individuals. In the Gulf, areas of high abundance have more than 50 individuals and areas of medium to low abundance have fewer than 50 individuals. Unpublished data obtained from Parks Canada and Sepaq were also used to identify important haulout areas in the Saguenay Fjord sector and in Pointe-aux-Vaches tidal flat sectors, which have been categorized in this dataset as high abundance areas. Data are valid only during summer (except for the Pointe-aux-Vaches flats identified as mainly frequented in autumn by Parc Canada), because spring and fall distributions of the Harbour seal are unknown. Data shown in the Estuary and the Gulf of St. Lawrence are a picture of the situation in 2005 because it is the most recent mapping available for this specie. The distribution of the Harbour seal is non-uniform among the different concentration areas but is similar between June and August. However, Harbour seals tend to decrease their presence along the south shore and the Lower Estuary in August to the benefit of the Saguenay River colonies. Abundance classes are arbitrary but fit with the published results of haulout site utilization from Robillard et al. (2005). Data sources : Parks Canada. 2021. Personal communication. Harbor seal monitoring data on the Pointe-aux-Vaches tidal flat. Parks Canada and SÉPAQ, 2020. Données du suivi du phoque commun dans le fjord du Saguenay. Unpublished data. Robillard, A., V. Lesage, and M.O. Hammill. 2005. Distribution and abundance of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina concolor) and grey seals (Halichoerus grypus) in the Estuary and Gulf of St. Lawrence, 1994–2001. Can. Tech. Rep. Fish. Aquat. Sci. 2613: 152 pp.