On Wednesday morning, the team from Lavages Industriels Vigneau, a company in the archipelago mandated by the Ministry of the Environment, was busy at Sandy Hook beach in Havre-Aubert.
Earlier this week, the company inspected the beach at Dune-de-L’Ouest, which connects the island of Cap-aux-Meules to the island of Havre-Aubert, as well as collecting the carcasses that litter the beaches of the Bassin and Corfu sector. beach, in the Étang-du-Nord sector.
Last week, the Ministry of the Environment to Combat Climate Change (MELCC) had proposed a total of 300 carcasses to be collected, but that number has already been reached in less than three working days, a sign that Quebec underestimated the extent of mortality. of the birds.
Cleaning limited to 60 km of beach
While the archipelago has about 300 kilometers of beach, the cleaning operation is limited to 60 kilometers on the 17 most frequented beaches identified in collaboration with the City Council.
Sick or dead gannets were also seen inside, but the company mandated by the Ministry of the Environment was not given the mandate to recover them.
The Ministry of Forests, Wildlife and Parks also detailed precautions to be taken before collecting the dead birds.
The MELCCit does not indicate whether more than one pass will be made on each of the beaches if other carcasses return to be washed there. Several fishermen still see many dead birds floating in the sea, which suggests they could end up on the shores after the cleanup crew has passed.
The Ministry of the Environment and Combating Climate Change (MELCC) has not established a timetable for the operations.
It’s hard for us to have an allotted time. You have to understand that we don’t have the exact number of dead birds. All work will be done until the carcasses are recoveredFrédéric Fournier, spokesman for the MELCC .
The cost of the operation has not yet been determined.
dead birds everywhere
There are many people who no longer want to walk on the beaches with their dog because they are afraid that their dog will taste the carcass. becomes a problemcomments Madelinot Henri-Paul Bénard.
The latter claims to have counted 315 dead birds during a single 15-kilometer walk in MTB (New window).on Cormorandière beach in Havre-aux-Maisons. Le Madelinot recorded a video of his journey
Most of the carcasses, 295, were gannets, but Bénard also saw corpses of gullemots, gulls and crows.
” It was very sad to see it, it’s like an open graveyard. »
He feels that the cleanup operation took a long time to take place, as several carcasses are now silted up and difficult to detect. He fears that several carcasses remain on the beach.
The problem, he says, is that it will silt up and they won’t see them and with other storms it will come out of the sand.
Gusts of 60 km/hour were also expected on Wednesday.
It is still too early to fully assess the impact of gannet mortality on the Quebec and Atlantic colonies, according to François Fournier of the Canadian Wildlife Service.
However, he recalls that these colonies, especially those in Quebec, total thousands of individuals.
Wildlife and Habitat Assessment Manager Fournier says provinces are responsible for monitoring the virus.
As the global outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) virus appears to be affecting migratory seabirds, your service is also on the lookout.
With information from Isabelle Larose