Full Site

La Pointe (QC013)


La Pointe (QC013)

Havre-aux-Maisons, Québec

Latitude 47.397°N
Longitude 61.823°W
Altitude 0 - 10m
Area 2.86km²

Site Description

La Pointe is a sand bar that extends west from the island of Havre aux Maisons, and is part of Îles-de-la-Madeleine in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Québec. The sand bar is located on the seaside, opposite the Havre aux Maisons marina.

The sandy beach of La Pointe has a gentle slope, is one kilometre long and is covered by shells and pebbles. There is much urban development in the vicinity of the beach, including a marina, channel, provincial road, houses and a motel.


The nationally endangered Piping Plover nests at La Pointe, Québec. Three pairs nested on the island in 1994, 1995 and 1997, whereas in 1996 and 1998 only two and one pair respectively nested on the site. This site contains 1% of the Canadian Atlantic coast population of Piping Plovers.

Conservation Issues

The beaches along Îles-de-la-Madeleine have become increasingly popular in the last few years, and thus there is a constant threat of disturbance for breeding Piping Plovers. The beach at La Pointe is particularly vulnerable to disturbance because of its close proximity to human settlements. Although forbidden on the beaches, off-road vehicles occasionally visit the site. Other conservation issues include the threat of oil spills in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.

Since 1987, research activities have been directed at developing protection measures for the Piping Plover. Educational programs have also been developed to inform residents and tourists about threats to the piping Plover population. During the breeding season, information boards and fences are installed along the perimeter of the restricted zone. Since 1995, a municipal by-law has prohibited the use of off-road vehicles along the Îles-de-la-Madeleine beaches.

Fish Habitat

The area is a paradise for many marine animals, both vertebrates and invertebrates. The deep-water of Gulf harbor a variety of crustaceans, mollusks and benthic fish, including the yellowtail flounder, the winter flounder and the Atlantic halibut, a species highly prized by commercial fishermen. The American lobster is a important economic resource in the region. Many species also inhabit the offshore waters. For example, the mackerel is important for both the fishing industry and for its role in the food chain. The sandy beaches are populated by Atlantic surf clam and by soft-shell clam, two species targeted by the local population for recreational fishing. The Atlantic surf clam is also fished commercially with hand tools and hydraulic dredges. Spartina marshes and numerous brooks are found in the area and they are used as feeding and resting areas for a variety of fish, such the rainbow smelt and American eel. Brooks are also used for the reproduction of some species, such as rainbow smelt.

The main pressures on fish habitat are related to port operations, navigation, dredging and increased coastal erosion (increased suspended sediment, increased noise, riprap, etc.).

Major species present:
American eel
American lobster
Atlantic halibut
Atlantic herring
Atlantic mackerel
Atlantic surf clam
Rainbow smelt
Soft-shell clam
Winter flounder
Yellowtail flounder

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Black-headed Gull
Number Year Season
6 - 312015Spring
Piping Plover
Number Year Season
4 - 51996Summer
Roseate Tern
Number Year Season