Pointe Saint-Pierre and Île-Plate are at the tip of the Gaspe Peninsula, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, between the towns of Perce and Gaspe, Quebec. The shore of Pointe St-Pierre is formed of gravelly and sandy bays alternating with conglomerate cliffs of about 30 m high. Île-Plate lies just 700 m off the point and is relatively flat as its name suggests. The site encompasses a marine area extending up to 2.3 km offshore.
Large numbers of wintering Oldsquaw are found in the waters in the Pointe Saint-Pierre and Île Plate area. For instance in 1981, about 10,000 Oldsqaw were recorded. Also, significant numbers of the Special Concern eastern population of Barrow's Goldeneye have been recorded here in the same season with a peak of 125 in 1996. This number represents about 4% of the eastern population. Additionally, numerous Red-breasted Mergansers, Common Goldeneyes, Buffleheads, Red-necked Grebes and Black Guillemots winter here. Purple Sandpipers can be seen along the rocky shorelines and a Gyrfalcon or Snowy Owl can sometimes be seen hunting over the grasslands of the point.
In the spring and fall, small numbers of the nationally endangered Harlequin Duck (eastern population) can be seen. The three scoter species, Oldsqaw, and Common Eider are the main occupants of the open water in spring and fall.
In the summer, Île Plate hosts marine breeding birds such as Herring Gull (210 pairs in 1989), Greater Black-backed Gull (28 pairs in 1989), Great Cormorant, Double-crested Cormorant and Common Eider (102 pairs in 1989), while Black Guillemots (230 pairs in 1989) nest on the mainland cliffs. In May and June, groups of Common Murre, Razorbill, Northern Gannet and Black-legged Kittiwakes are constantly seen flying past.
There are few conservation issues associated with Pointe Saint-Pierre and Île Plate site, although there is the potential for an increase in tourism to lead to the disturbance of birds, and for oil pollution to be a problem as with any site in the Gulf of St. Lawrence. This site is part of the Baie des Chaleurs Priority Intervention Zone. The World Wildlife Fund recognized that this site had conservation interest by designating it a Natural Site Without Legal Status. In 2013, The Nature Conservancy of Canada has acquired 0.31 km2 of grassland, coastal forests, and rocky shores for preservation.
IBA is typified by rocky cliffs with a portion of land consisting of meadows and a forested area. At sea, the Atlantic mackerel, the Atlantic herring, the rainbow smelt, the American lobster, the snow crab, the rock crab and the scallop are targetted by the commercial fishery.
The major pressures on the ichthyofauna are overfishing and destruction of fish habitat, such as the draining of wetlands and the modification of the shoreline (erosion, riprap).
Major species present:
American sand lance
Atlantic sea scallop
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