Monitoring marine water quality

Photo of coastal shoreline. Photo credit - Yves Lamontagne, MWQM Quebec.

St-Fabien, Baie du Ha! Ha! Photo: Yves Lamontagne, MWQM.

The primary role of the Marine Water Quality Monitoring program (MWQM) is to support Environment Canada's mandate under the Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program. Its major objective is to identify safe shellfish (bivalve mollusc) areas in Canada which includes on-going water quality monitoring of the level of fecal contamination in the shellfish growing areas, the identification of point and non-point pollution sources (municipal sewage and industrial wastes, agricultural run-off etc) in the immediate environment that would impact these areas, and the recommendation of classification of shellfish areas based on the results and analyses of these activities. 

The CSSP Canadian Shellfish Sanitation Program (CSSP) is led by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in collaboration with Environment Canada (EC) and Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) so that:

  • bivalve molluscan shellfish are harvested from growing areas meeting approved federal water quality criteria;
  • potential pollution sources in these areas are identified
  • all shellfish sold commercially are harvested, transported and processed in an approved manner

Environment Canada delivers the environmental portion of a program that has significant socio-economic impacts for coastal rural communities, supporting the sustainable development strategy of the Department.

Related links

Contact us

Water Quality Monitoring and Surveillance
200 Sacré Coeur Blvd
Gatineau, Qc  K1A 0H3


Did you know

Environment Canada monitors water quality in areas where shellfish are harvested.

The Canadian Food Inspection Agency monitors the processing of edible shellfish for compliance with federal standards.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada opens and closes shellfish beds on the recommendation of either Environment Canada or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, and notifies all interested parties.

Report a problem or mistake on this page
Please select all that apply:

Thank you for your help!

You will not receive a reply. For enquiries, contact us.

Date modified: