This MPA project was initiated by DFO in 1998 as a way to completely protect the beluga habitat in the St. Lawrence Estuary. The vast area of interest surrounds the Saguenay-St. Lawrence Marine Park and is an area of exceptional biodiversity.
Public consultations were held in 2004 and with First Nations in 2005. Since this is an area of shared jurisdiction, collaboration between Québec and Ottawa is essential.
In the Fall of 2013, TransCanada tabled an oil terminal project at Cacouna, inside the boundaries of the proposed MPA and within the essential habitat of the threatened beluga population. A vast citizen mobilization against the oil terminal project, as well as several legal challenges, led TransCanada to abandon the project in the Spring of 2015.28