Kelp Survey in the Bay-of-Chaleurs: A Winning Partnership Between the Aboriginal and Applied Research Sectors

Tuesday, August 19, 2014: 3:40 PM
303A (Centre des congrès de Québec // Québec City Convention Centre)
Marie-Hélène Rondeau , Mi'kmaq Maliseet Aboriginal Fisheries Management Association, Gesgapegiag, QC, Canada
Elizabeth Leblanc , Centre interdisciplinaire de développement en cartographie des océans, Rimouski, QC, Canada
Philippe Archambault , Institut des sciences de la mer, Université du Québec à Rimouski, Rimouski, QC, Canada
Damien Grelon , Merinov, Grande-Rivière, QC, Canada
Virginia Martin , Galgoasiet Natural Resources, Micmacs of Gesgapegiag, Gesgapegiag, QC, Canada
One objective of the Mi’kmaq Maliseet Aboriginal Fisheries Management Association (MMAFMA) is to promote the development, autonomy and innovation of fisheries of its member communities. In 2013, the Micmacs of Gesgapegiag Nation have obtained an experimental fishing licence for the sea urchin in the Bay-of-Chaleur and called the MMAFMA to evaluate this fishery's feasibility. Given that experimental fishing for sea urchin requires diving, which is costly and limited to small areas, the survey was expanded to other species including sugar kelp (Saccharina longicruris), a resource with great potential. The diving surveys used both underwater imagery and quadrate sampling. In order to increase the sampling area and provide kelp density maps for the Bay of Chaleur, the diving was paired with acoustic surveys conducted by the Centre interdisciplinaire de developpement et de cartographie des océans (CIDCO). Underwater imagery and related analyses were performed by Merinov and the Université du Québec à Rimouski (UQAR), in collaboration with our team. The scuba diving yielded a total of 31 video transects of 200 m and 94 quadrates. Our protocol allowed the CIDCO to validate its acoustic methods with underwater imagery and estimate the kelp biomass and distribution over a greater area.