national marine conservation area in Quebec, Canada
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Saguenay–Saint-Laurent Marine Park (French: Parc marin du Saguenay–Saint-Laurent) is a national marine conservation area located in a section of the seabed of the St. Lawrence and Saguenay rivers, in Quebec. This park is internationally recognized for the observation of marine mammals.

This marine protected area is managed jointly by the Société des establishments de plein air du Québec (SEPAQ) and by Parks Canada.



The mission of this marine park is to increase, for the benefit of present and future generations, the level of protection of its ecosystems for conservation purposes, while promoting educational, recreational and scientific activities.



The Saguenay-Saint-Laurent Marine Park protects an area of the St. Lawrence River and the Saguenay River where animal and plant diversity is exceptional according to marine ecosystem specialists. This diversity refers to a broad spectrum covering more than 2,000 wild species, both microscopic algae and the blue whale. Annually, thousands of whales, seals and seabirds travel thousands of kilometres to come and feed in this sector. Migratory marine species and resident species, such as the St. Lawrence beluga, are attracted by these oceanic conditions which favour the marine food chain because food is abundant there. The territory of this park generally covers the critical habitat of the St. Lawrence beluga.



The Saguenay – Saint-Laurent Marine Park is located entirely in a marine area on the northern half of the St. Lawrence River, between Gros cap à l'Aigle at La Malbaie (MRC de Charlevoix-Est) and upstream from Pointe Rouge to Les Escoumins (MRC La Haute-Côte-Nord), as well as on the lower course of the Saguenay River, between Sainte-Rose-du-Nord (downstream from Cap de East) and Tadoussac. This park is adjacent by its land portion to Fjord-du-Saguenay National Park and Estuary Islands National Wildlife Area.

The law constituting the creation of the marine park was adopted in 1997 by the Government of Quebec, providing for a marine territory.

Marine ecosystems


This marine park has three ecosystems that stand out as hydrographic and oceanographic divisions: the middle estuary, the lower estuary and the Saguenay fjord. Ecosystems are interrelated because the various species migrate from one area to another.



Humans have frequented the shores of the St.Lawrence for about 8,000 years because numerous artefacts bear witness to their passage and their life. These natives hunted marine species including seals at Cap Bon-Désir. They were engaged in trade. The inhabitants of New France continued this hunting practice.

In 1988, under the chairmanship of Father Rosaire Corbin, a “Coalition for the creation of the Saguenay-Saint-Laurent marine park” was formed, bringing together 27 regional organizations. Also in 1988, the International Forum for the Future of the Beluga brought together the actors who proposed the creation of the marine park in order to promote the recovery of this threatened population.

Get in


By car


The park is accessible via route 138 from Quebec City or Baie-Comeau and by routes 170 (south shore of Saguenay) and 172 (north shore of Saguenay) to from the city of Saguenay. Observation from the shore is favorable in many areas considering that the marine relief has sufficient depth near the coast to allow mannifers to frolic easily.

By boat


The marine park area is navigable with light boats (sea kayaks, sea canoes), pleasure craft (sailboats, motor boats) or boats serving groups (e.g. zodiacs) served by excursionists, and even cruise ships offering a range of services, activities and discoveries of the region. Regulations have been established on how to move around this reserved area and how to behave with regard to marine mammals.

By air


The observation of marine mannifers can be done by air: drone, helicopter, plane.

Fees and permits


Get around

Marine park coordination area
Map of Saguenay-Saint Lawrence Marine Park

Nine species of marine mammals regularly frequent the park, two of which, the harbour seal and the beluga, reside year round. The other seven species are the grey seal, harp seal, harbour porpoise, minke whale, fin whale, blue whale, and humpback whale. The latter are present during the summer season.

Marine mammals can migrate daily (or seasonally) from one marine area to another. Thus, their marine habitat is vast, which can complicate their observation by humans who love marine animals.

Interpretation centres for the marine environment

  • 1 Centre de découverte du milieu marin de Les Escoumins (Les Escoumins Marine Environment Discovery Centre), 41, rue des Pilotes, Les Escoumins, +1 418-233-4414. Discovery centre on the underwater world of the St. Lawrence. Offers the “Le Saint-Laurent en direct” activity that allows you to observe, on a giant screen, the diver-interpreters at the bottom of the water and interact with them as well as to observe marine organisms. It is also possible to rent snorkel gear or observe marine mammals from the land. Picnic areas with a view of the St. Lawrence.
  • 2 Centre d'interprétation et d'observation de Cap-de-Bon-Désir (Cap-de-Bon-Désir Interpretation and Observation Centre), 13, chemin du Cap de Bon Désir, Grandes-Bergeronnes, +1 418-232-6751. Observation of marine mannifers from the shore.
  • 3 Centre d'interprétation des Mammifères Marins de Tadoussac (Tadoussac Marine Mammal Interpretation Centre), 108, rue de la Cale Sèche, Tadoussac, +1 418-235-4701, . Founded in 1985, the Group for Research and Education on Marine Mammals (GREMM) is a non-profit organization. Its mission is dedicated to scientific research on the whales of the St. Lawrence and to education for the conservation of the marine environment.

Main observation points from the shore

  • 4 Point de vue du Quai des Pilotes (Viewpoint from the Pilots' Quay), 38, rue des Pilotes, Les Escoumins (View of the rock from the end of the peninsula north of Anse aux Basques.). Observation of the St. Lawrence River from the Quai des Pilotes, including the passage of marine mammals and boats.
  • 5 Point de vue de la Pointe-Rouge (Point of view of Pointe-Rouge), rue du Quai, Les Escoumins (View of the rock at the end of the peninsula located next to the ferry boarding ramp.). Observation of the St. Lawrence River from Pointe-Rouge, in particular the passage of marine mammals and boats. Starting from the pedestrian bridge at the mouth of the Escoumins river, a path along the bay of Escoumins goes to the ferry boarding ramp where a rocky camp allows you to see the panorama of the river.
  • 6 Cap de Bon-Désir (centre d'observation) (Cap de Bon-Désir (observation centre)), Grandes-Bergeronnes. Observation centre of the St. Lawrence River and marine mannifers.
  • 7 La Pointe-Noire, route 138, Baie Sainte-Catherine, +1 418-237-4383 (in season), + 1 418-235-4703 (off season). Point located at the confluence of the Saguenay River and the St. Lawrence River, less than a kilometre from the landing stage of the Tadoussac-Baie-Sainte-Catherine ferry. Pointe-Noire is an exceptional observation point for marine mannifers in their natural habitat, birds and the panorama of the entrance to the Saguenay Fjord. This site was once inhabited by the families of the lighthouse keeper and his assistant. An exhibition is offered to visitors with guide-interpreters. On this site, range lights and a fogger are used as a lookout for navigation. Visitors to the site also benefit from a panoramic path (universal access), a belvedere with telescopes, a shop, the historic lighthouse and picnic tables.

Main departure docks for excursions

  • 8 Quai de Baie Sainte-Catherine.
    • 9 Croisière AML - Baie Sainte-Catherine, 159, route 138, Baie-Sainte-Catherine, toll-free: +1-866-856-6668. Cruise line.
  • 10 Quai de Tadoussac, rue du Bord de l'Eau, Tadoussac.
  • 14 Quai Les Bergeronnes. Wharf at the eastern tip of the Bay of Grandes Bergeronnes.
    • 15 Croisières Essipit, 498, rue de la Mer, Grandes-Bergeronnes, +1 418-232-6778. Whale-watching cruises, condo-hotels, cabins, campsites, outfitters and sea kayaking.
  • 16 Quai de Les Escoumins, rue des Pilotes, Les Escoumins. Quay fitted out at Anse aux Basques.

Whale watching cruise ship


According to the outfitters, whale watching cruises on a cruise ship can offer a variety of services, activities and attractions. Some outfitters offer:

  • ascending the Saguenay fjord and observing the landscapes along the river (eg: in autumn when the leaves of the trees are in colour, the cliffs, the islands, the rocks, the lighthouses, the docks),
  • observation of winged and marine fauna,
  • an animation with experienced guides (interpretation of nature, history).

The main points of departure for this type of cruise are: Port of Quebec, Quai de Baie Sainte-Catherine, and Quai de Tadoussac.





Go next


  • 1 Tadoussac Municipality bordering the north shore of the St. Lawrence River and the mouth of the Saguenay River. This locality has a good infrastructure for recreational and tourism activities (resorts, restaurants, accommodation, hiking trails, cycling, museums, interpretation centres, excursions on the river, providers of activities in nature) and for various passenger services. Tadoussac is recognized as the "capital of the whale".
  • 2 Sacré-Coeur (Quebec) Forest community offering various services to travellers and numerous recreational and tourist attractions thanks to its shore on the Saguenay Fjord, in particular the Anse-de-Roche wharf and its tourist infrastructures (superb views of the Saguenay, nautical activities, observation and interpretation of nature).
  • 3 Les Escoumins Municipality bordering the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. Locality where the offer of recreational tourism activities (resorts, restaurants, lodges, inns and hotel, whale-watching expeditions, controlled exploitation zone (ZEC), interpretation centres, etc.) is developed.
  • 4 Baie-Sainte-Catherine A municipality on the west shore of the Saguenay River and the north shore of the St. Lawrence River. The Baie-Sainte-Catherine-Tadoussac ferry serves hundreds of thousands of passengers per year and road vehicles. The Pointe-Noire observation and interpretation centre and the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean Marine Park attract many visitors.
  • 5 Saint-Siméon A picturesque municipality on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River in the Charlevoix-Est RCM, renowned for its Saint-Siméon-Rivière-du-Loup ferry. Municipality endowed with numerous recreational tourism activities and a developed tourist infrastructure (accommodation, camping, restaurants, artisans, Boréalis Gardens, hiking trails) and many attractions including the villages of Port-au-Persil and Saint-Siméon.
  • 6 La Malbaie A very touristy municipality on the north shore of the St. Lawrence River, offering many recreational and tourism activities, a developed reception infrastructure (resorts, accommodation, restaurants, shops, Charlevoix casino, Richelieu manor, golf, hiking, museums) and many attractions around the bay and the La Malbaie River.
  • 7 Sainte-Rose-du-Nord   Located on the north slope of the Saguenay River, this locality offers many tourist attractions (resorts, accommodation, restaurants, rental cabins, splendid panorama, mountains, hiking trails).
  • 8 Mont-Valin   Unorganized territory of the MRC du Fjord-du-Saguenay, located between the Mistassibi river and the administrative region of Côte-Nord. Magnificent territory for recreational tourism activities. Territory covering 38,032 km2 (14,684 sq mi).
  • 9 Saint-Félix-d'Otis   Saint-Félix-d'Otis has 189 lakes in an area of 235 km2 (91 sq mi). In summer, the population increases significantly because of the resort and its proximity to the services and businesses of the city of Saguenay.
  • 10 L'Anse-Saint-Jean   Municipality on the south shore of the Saguenay River.
  • 11 Petit-Saguenay   Municipality on the south shore of the Saguenay River. Recreational tourism activities (vacationing, boating, hunting, fishing, camping, bicycles, hiking trails, as well as the observation of panoramas, flora and fauna) are developed because of its natural attractions: magnificent mountains, its boreal forest and its waterways.
This park travel guide to Saguenay-Saint Lawrence Marine Park is a usable article. It has information about the park, for getting in, about a few attractions, and about accommodations in the park. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.