Voluntary speed reduction measures

River bank erosion

Bank erosion is a complex phenomenon caused by many natural factors, including ice, gusting winds, currents and water levels. But it is also attributable to human causes, notably waves created by ship wakes or “wave action”.

In 2000, the marine industry adopted a voluntary measure for reducing vessel speed in four zones located between Sorel and Montréal, over a distance of 25 km, in order to diminish river bank erosion caused by ship-generated waves. The speed reduction guideline encourages ships’ pilots not to exceed 10 knots in the targeted area.

This voluntary speed reduction measure has been a great success since its implementation with a compliance rate of 98% in 2014 and 99% in 2016. Source: St. Lawrence Action Plan 

The compliance rate for this measure is released, monthly, in the St. Lawrence Shipoperators newsletter.


Sustainable Navigation Strategy

The governments of Canada and Quebec have been collaborating since 1988 to protect and develop the St-Lawrence as part of the Canada-Quebec Agreement on the St-Lawrence. By the means of the St-Lawrence Action Plan 2011-2026, the consolidated efforts of a record number of 18 government departments, ministries and agencies aim to promote the integrated management of the St-Lawrence through joint actions.

For instance, the Navigation Coordination Committee (NCC) was formed in 1998 with the goal to encourage the collaboration between the marine industry, environmental groups, the government and the population with regards to the environmental impacts of commercial navigation and recreational boating.

In 2004, the NCC issued its very first Sustainable Navigation Strategy (SND). A revised strategy has been published in 2014.

The SND proposes guidelines on priority issues and specific actions in order to harmonize navigation and the protection of marine ecosystems. The establishment of a dredging activity planning registry, as well as the implementation of a voluntary speed reduction measure in areas sensitive to erosion are examples of projects successfully developed by the NCC.