How is the St. Lawrence river?

News 12 January, 2018
  • Photo archives Agence QMI, JOEL LEMAY

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    Thursday, 11 January, 2018 20:51

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    A researcher with Fisheries and Oceans Canada has unveiled today, in Rimouski, the balance of oceanic conditions for the year 2017. There is scientific data that say a lot about the current state of the river and its biodiversity.

    In his study, the researcher Peter Galbraith has observed that the St. Lawrence had, in the course of the last year, the largest spring freshet since 1974. The surface temperature is above the average of the last 30 years and the ice are increasingly rare.

    In 2017, we recorded the 6th lowest sea ice volume since 1969. It must be said that 6 of the 8 lowest volumes were recorded in the course of the past 8 years.

    Among other disturbing statistics, to 300 meters of depth, the temperature reached a record high, and this, on the whole of the gulf. We have not seen for more than a century.

    “The trend is to climate change, to global warming. We follow this trend-here. We are going to have warmer winters with less ice. There has been the intrusion of warm water deep. So, if it comes out of the gulf of St. Lawrence, there is water even warmer outside of the channel, the lower-laurentian and that could enter the gulf. A few years ago, we had temperatures of deep water to 7 degrees and it was never seen before. Here, we have pockets that are hotter than that. We see pockets of 8-9 degrees,” explains Peter Galbraith.

    “The species that are caught from deep waters, that live only there, like the Greenland halibut, are particularly at risk. Especially that it is a species that loves the cold water. There is also the nordic shrimp, which is also, in general, in the deep waters. It is in the face of global warming and the loss of dissolved oxygen,” says the researcher in bioenergetics in Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Denis Chabot.

    All in all, this scientific research leads us to better understand the impact of these changes on the ecosystem of the St. Lawrence river. An ecosystem that is both complex and fragile.