The Government of Canada is making a significant investment in restoring free passage of American eel between the St. Lawrence Estuary and several coastal watersheds in Quebec through the Coastal Restoration Fund under the Oceans Protection Plan
Wendake, Quebec – The protection and restoration of the environment is a top priority of the Government of Canada, which is providing resources through the Oceans Protection Plan for environmental protection and restoration. Canadians and future generations will benefit from healthier ecosystems that support marine wildlife, as a result of Canada-wide Coastal Restoration Fund projects.
On behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Joël Lightbound, MP for Louis-Hébert and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance, announced today that the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat will receive $1.45 million over five years to fund a project to restore the habitat of the American eel in several coastal watersheds that flow into the St. Lawrence River.
The project will contribute to restoring the American eel population, which has declined considerably in the St. Lawrence and coastal watersheds. More specifically, this project aims to restore the American eel’s migratory corridors to its feeding and growth habitats, since barriers to migration are one of the main threats to its recovery. It will also benefit the St. Lawrence beluga, an endangered species, because eel is part of the whale’s diet.
In May 2017, the Government of Canada announced the $75 million Coastal Restoration Fund to help rehabilitate some of our most important coastlines and protect marine life and ecosystems. The Coastal Restoration Fund, under the responsibility of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, supports projects that contribute to coastal restoration on all of Canada’s coasts with preference given to projects that are multiyear and involve a broad number of partners, including Indigenous groups.
The $1.5 billion Oceans Protection Plan is the largest investment ever made to protect Canada’s coasts and waterways. In collaboration with Indigenous peoples, local stakeholders and coastal communities, the Government of Canada is creating a world-leading marine safety system that provides economic opportunities for Canadians today, while protecting our coasts and waterways for generations to come.
“Our government is committed to protecting our coasts – that’s why we announced the Oceans Protection Plan, which will help restore and protect marine ecosystems and habitats. The $75 million Coastal Restoration Fund provides an opportunity to address threats to our ocean and coastal areas. I am pleased that our collaboration with the Huron-Wendat Nation and its many partners will ensure healthy, thriving ecosystems for the American eel in the St. Lawrence Estuary for future generations.”
The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, P.C., Q.C., M.P., Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
“We are proud to collaborate with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and other partners, including the Government of Quebec and watershed organizations, to restore the free passage of the American eel and promote its return to the St. Lawrence Estuary. We are all working toward the same goal: sustainable fisheries and healthy ecosystems for the future.”
Konrad Sioui, Grand Chief of the Huron-Wendat Nation
“This investment from the Government of Canada to restore the American eel population is a strategic initiative that will represent a significant advantage for Quebec. In addition to fostering regional synergy between the Huron-Wendat Nation and its partners, the project will help reinforce the capacity of several organizations to restore key habitats, including migration corridors.”
Joël Lightbound, MP for Louis-Hébert and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Finance
The long-term objective of the project is to increase the American eel population in the St. Lawrence watershed—including the Estuary and the Gulf—by restoring its access to feeding and growth habitats that have been lost since the 1950s in many watersheds.
An initial potential was identified to restore 50,000 hectares of habitat for the eel, providing a wide variety for the selection of the best projects based on their ecological value and feasibility. Part of the historical biodiversity will be restored by returning eel populations to these many watersheds.
This project is led primarily by the Conseil de la Nation huronne-wendat. Several partnerships will be maintained or created during the project, including with Quebec’s Ministère des Forêts, de la Faune et des Parcs, various watershed organizations, and private and municipal dam owners.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Office of the Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard
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