Dredging at the Commercial Port of Cap-aux-Meules, Îles-de-la-Madeleine


In fall 2023 and 2024, Transport Canada (TC) will continue the dredging work begun in 2020 at Cap-aux-Meules harbour. An environmental assessment (EA) was carried out in 2020 for this project, covering the dredging of approximately 55,000 m3 (68,700 m2) of in situ sediment to reach depths of -7.1 m in the harbour and -6.5 m in the access channel.

Subsequently, two addendums to the EA were issued for the following activities:

- 2021: same work as in 2020, with the addition of a new depth to be reached in the channel area, from -6.5 to -6.8 m (total area approx. 10,645 m2).

- 2022: same work as in 2021, with the addition of a new dredging zone at the fishermen's wharf (5,700 m2).

Work scheduled for 2023-2024

The areas and depths targeted by dredging work in 2023-2024 will be the same as in 2022, with the addition of dredging in front of wharf no. 7, the area alongside the breakwater and a new depth to be reached in the access channel, increasing from -6.8 m to -7.1 m, as follows:

-7.0 m in the harbor;

-7.1 m in the access channel (including the gauge widening zone; corresponding to 53,000 m2);

-2.5 m for the rocky shoal in front of wharf no. 7 (20 m2);

-7.5 m at the tanker dock - maintenance dredging (4,508 m2).

The estimated volume of sediment to be dredged in 2023-2024 is 37,000 m3. As for the rocky shoal in front of wharf no. 7, to comply with the various clauses of the disposal at sea permit, the contractor will have to crush the shoal with a jackhammer, remove the boulders from the water with his bucket and manage them on land. The seabed in this area will then have to be levelled using a steel beam, scraper blade or hydraulic shovel.

For the other areas, uncontaminated excavated sediments will be removed using a hydraulic shovel, a crane fitted with a half-shell bucket or a pump (hydraulic suction dredge) and disposed of at the PBCM-1 East disposal site (47, 36650°N, -61.79967°W NAD83), located 4.3 km southeast of Cap-aux-Meules harbour (47.37612ºN and -61.85292ºW NAD83).


A Fisheries Act authorization was issued (2021-029) for work carried out in 2021 (10,645 m2 area outside the channel maintenance gauge). Given the impossibility of carrying out the fish habitat compensation project as planned in 2022, a compensation project was submitted to DFO's Fish and Habitat Protection Program (FHP) in June 2023, for the entire channel dredging gauge extension, corresponding to 53,000 m2.

Loading for disposal and disposal at sea of wastes or other matter require a permit issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC), under subsection 127(1) of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA, 1999).

The dredging work will also require approval under the Canadian Navigable Waters Act (CNWA) by TC's Navigation Protection Program. A Notice to Shipping will have to be issued concerning the nature and duration of the work.

The requirements of the clauses contained in ECCC's Disposal at Sea permit and approval under the CNW Act must be met.

TC, ECCC and Fisheries and Oceans Canada are participating in the EA addendum for the 2023-2024 work.


Latest update

August 2nd - Following the environmental assessment,Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada are satisfied that the carrying out of the project is not likely to cause significant adverse environmental effects. Therefore, Transport Canada, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Environment and Climate Change Canada may carry out the project, exercise any power, perform any duty or function, or provide financial assistance to enable the project to be carried out in whole or in part.


Key documents

Key documents
Document Number Document Title File Date
2 Notice of Determination - August 2, 2023
1 Dredging at the Commercial Port of Cap-aux-Meules, Îles-de-la-Madeleine - June 12, 2023


Environmental and Aboriginal affairs - Québec region
Email: aea-eaa@tc.gc.ca

  • Location

    • Cap-aux-Meules, Îles-de-la-Madeleine (Quebec) (Quebec)
  • Nature of Activity

    • Ports and Harbours
  • Assessment Status

  • Start Date

  • Proponent

    Transport Canada
  • Authorities

    • Environment and Climate Change Canada
    • Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    • Transport Canada
  • Assessment Type

    Project on federal lands
  • Reference Number


This map is for illustrative purposes. The markers represent the approximate locations based on available data. More than one marker may be identified for a given assessment.


Nearby assessments

...within 200 kilometres
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