Sharks are present in the St. Lawrence River and scientists want to increase their presence.
On July 13, a great white shark measuring 3 meters in length was sighted for the first time this year in the Magdalena Islands. When it was announced yesterday that he had left the archipelago. Another shark was spotted in Chaleur Bay.
But instead of perpetuating humans’ aversion to sharks, organizations and scientists are trying to promote their presence in the St. Lawrence River and their ecological importance. The Exploramer Museum in Sainte-Anne-des-Monts is working on a $16 million global development project, which will include the construction of a new $7 million pavilion devoted entirely to sharks, due to be completed in two years. In an aquarium you can see live sharks.
The St. Lawrence Shark Observatory (ORS) also works to protect and promote sharks.
“At least seven species of sharks are common in the Gulf and the St. Lawrence Estuary, but only the Greenland shark and the black dogfish remain there year-round. The seven species have likely visited the St. Lawrence since the end of the Ice Age, about 10,000 years ago. The St. Lawrence has at least eight types of skates. New types of elasmobranch are likely to be reported in the near future as the St. Lawrence continues to warm as a result of climate change,” said the organization, which also goes by the name of Greenland’s Elasmobranch and Shark Study Group (GEERG).
12 foot woman in Baie-Comeau
The size of St. Lawrence sharks ranges from three to 40 feet. According to various experts, the Greenland shark can live to be 300 and possibly even 400 years old.
Jeffrey Gallant, an explorer and diver who worked with the fantastic team of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, is the founder of GEERG. In 2003, he observed a 12-foot woman in Baie-Comeau. In 2006, a woman in Saguenay caught a shark that weighed about 500 pounds.
“I don’t see any bad news in that the great white shark plays a very important critical role for ecosystem maintenance of biodiversity in the gulf, in the North Atlantic and they are coming back, that’s a good thing. Especially since we know that the shark is very little or not very interested in humans. So there is only a risk if it is near natural prey, i.e. if people venture near the seals. […] They expose themselves to a higher risk because the shark is looking for prey,” said the man described as a friend of the sharks on radio 98.5 the day before yesterday.
“The shark population is growing. The risk of an incident has increased, but it is still very low,” Jeffrey Gallant also told Radio-Canada.
“The fact that humans are afraid of sharks does not contribute to the conservation efforts of the more than 500 species of sharks living on the planet, a third of which are currently endangered. However, the numbers speak for themselves: sharks kill about 10 people a year, while humans cause the death of as many as 100 million of them,” Rimouski scientist Lyne Morissette wrote in l’News magazine.
In addition, Diane Lebouthillier, MNA for Gaspésie-Les Îles-de-la-Madeleine and Minister of National Revenue, yesterday announced contributions totaling $6,595,376 to 11 companies and organizations in Haute-Gaspésie.
Exploramer and his project for a new shark pavilion is one of the beneficiaries for $2.5 million. The other beneficiaries are the Mont-Saint-Pierre Tourist, Economic and Social Development Solidarity Cooperative, the Cap-Chat Distillery, the Haute-Gaspésie Historical Society, Panora Loges Fluviales, Auberge du Cap, Énergie Cap-Chat, Auberge La Seigneurie des Monts , Concept Innovaciel, Monde Sauvage and the socio-cultural center of Caps.
With these investments from CED, they can start up their project, improve or modernize their tourist offer. Additional information about each of the projects can be found in the accompanying document.
“Tourism plays a crucial role in Gaspé’s economy. I am delighted that our government is supporting 11 organizations and companies in Haute-Gaspésie. Thanks to the support of CED, 13 new projects are emerging that will help improve the tourism offer of the region to attract and welcome even more visitors. Whether creating a new offering or improving or modernizing the current offering, I am convinced that each of these projects will contribute in its own way to the economic development of the region,” said Ms Lebouthillier.