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The creation of the Manicouagan Aquatic Reserve, in the St. Lawrence Estuary, was announced on Aug. 22, 2013.
Covering 275 square miles, it will preserve an estuarine and marine zone harboring very diverse habitats, at the mouths of the Manicouagan, Outardes and Betsiamites Rivers.
It encompasses salt marshes, tidelands, eelgrass beds, islands and shoals. Its management is entrusted to Pointe-aux-Outardes Nature Park.
Only a single other marine protected area had been designated in Quebec thus far: Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park, whose management is part provincial and part federal.
With the creation of Manicouagan Aquatic Reserve, the protection rate of Quebec’s marine territory rises from 0.8 % to 1.3 %. Quebec has pledged to protect 10 % of its marine territory by 2015.