Scientists to analyze plastics in Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park

Scientists to analyze plastics in Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park
Scientists to analyze plastics in Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park

How polluted is the Saguenay–St. Lawrence Marine Park by plastics? This is the question that a team of researchers will try to answer by sailing the Saguenay Fjord and the St. Lawrence Estuary aboard the sailboat Vanamo.

This is the second scientific mission of the Blue Expedition, which will take place from July 21 to August 5, during which time the sailboat will first sail on the Saguenay, from La Baie to Tadoussac, and then on the river, from La Malbaie to Les Escoumins on the north shore, and from Rivière-du-Loup to L’Île-Verte on the south side.

The goal of the trip is to study and document the impact of plastic pollution in this protected marine area. The research team plans to identify and assess the presence of macroplastics—larger plastics visible to the naked eye—on the banks of the Saguenay and St. Lawrence Rivers in the protected area. It also intends to do the same for microplastics in the region’s surface waters.

The scientists also plan to collect specimens of invertebrates to assess the presence of microplastics in the organisms’ tissues. The goal, ultimately, is to determine what efforts will be required to counter the harmful effects of this plastic pollution.

This research will be conducted in collaboration with McGill University, the University of Quebec in Rimouski and Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Creation and awareness

The mission, however, goes beyond the realm of scientific research, as the crew will also include artists from the fields of music, literature and video.

The journey of the Vanamo can be followed on the social networks of Organisation Bleue, which is behind this project. The artists’ publications aimed at reaching and raising awareness among the public will also be found there.

The public will also be invited to participate in various riverbank cleanups that will take place in the Saguenay, Charlevoix and Côte-Nord regions.

The mission will be led by the co-founder and executive director of the Blue Organization, marine biologist Anne-Marie Asselin. Founded in 2018, the Blue Organization led a first Blue Expedition in August and September 2022 in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. Several literary creations emerged from it while the crew’s scientists analyzed the situation at some twenty protected sites where they collected more than a quarter of a ton of waste.

To see in video

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