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The 13 species of whales found in the St. Lawrence

There are about 80 species of whales in the world. Of these, 12 migrate to the St. Lawrence every year while 1 lives there year-round. The fact that so many species are found in such a relatively small ecosystem makes the St. Lawrence one of the best whale-watching sites in the world.
Toothed whales – 8 species (70 species worldwide)

1- Harbour porpoise – 1.5 to 2 m, 45 to 50 kg

The smallest of the St. Lawrence cetaceans and one of the smallest in the world, the harbour porpoise is hard to spot. However, there are over 20,000 in the St. Lawrence.


2- Atlantic white-sided dolphin – 2 to 2.7 m, 180 to 230 kg

These dolphins swim in pods of hundreds of individuals and love to play in the wake of passing boats. They are found in great numbers in the gulf and occasionally visit the estuary.


3- White-beaked dolphin – 2.5 to 3 m, 135 to 275 kg

Like the Atlantic white-sided dolphin, white-beaked dolphins swim in large pods and like to play in the wake of passing boats. They also visit the gulf regularly but are generally found further north.


4- Beluga whale – 3 to 4.5 m, 0.7 to 1.5 tonnes

Belugas have the widest vocal range among cetaceans. The only whales to live year round in the St. Lawrence, they are easily identifiable by their white skin.


5- Long-finned pilot whale – 4 to 5 m, 2 to 3.5 tonnes

These large dolphins form family units of several dozen individuals. They regularly visit the gulf, but are rarely found in the estuary.


6- Killer whale – 6 to 7 m, 3 to 7 tonnes

The largest of the dolphins, the killer whale is rarely seen in the St. Lawrence. However, since 1984, a pod of three individuals has been regularly sighted in the gulf, off Mingan.


7- Northern bottlenose whale – 6 to 10 m, 3 to 7 tonnes

A small population of northern bottlenose whales lives in the waters off Nova Scotia. To date, the only individuals spotted in the St. Lawrence have been live stranded whales.


8- Sperm whale – 11 to 15 m, 15 to 40 tonnes

Immortalized in Herman Melville’s Moby Dick, sperm whales have been sighted regularly in the St. Lawrence Estuary since 1991.
Baleen whales – 5 species (11 species worldwide)

1- Minke whale – 6 to 9 metres, 6 to 8 tonnes

The smallest of the baleen whales, minkes display their pink undersides as they hunt near the shore.


2- Humpback whale – 11 to 13 metres, 25 to 30 tonnes

The best known of the large cetaceans, humpbacks show their tail with every dive.


3- North Atlantic right whale – 10 to 15 m, 30 to 60 tonnes

The North Atlantic right whale is the quintessential whale, just as you imagine it: round and chubby! Once heavily hunted, some 300 survivors are left in the North Atlantic.


4- Fin whale – 18 to 21 metres, 40 to 50 tonnes

A few dozen fin whales, the world’s second largest animals, can be spotted in the St. Lawrence Estuary every summer.


5- Blue whale – 21 to 26 metres, 80 to 210 tonnes

Only a few hundred blue whales—the largest animals on the planet—still exist. The St. Lawrence is one of the rare places in the world where they can be observed near the shore.
Whale Watching Packages
Whale-Watching Cruise Package

Whale-Watching Cruise Package

Hôtel Universel / Centre de congrès – Rivière-du-Loup

Starting from $137.93
per person based on double occupancy, taxes not included Valid from June 10, 2014 to September 11, 2014
Whales & Nature

Whales & Nature

Ferme 5 Étoiles Family Vacation Site

Starting from $134.00
per person based on double occupancy, taxes and gratuities not included Valid from May 15, 2014 to October 15, 2014
See all Whale Watching Packages
Testimonials about Whale Watching
  • April 2010
    Explore Scenic Drives by Motorcycle!
    "Discover a tourism destination where roads run alongside the sea, mountains, valleys and rivers in a region dotted with rest areas, scenic lookouts and great gourmet finds." Read more »
  • A Small Bay among Giants
    "The best thing about Tadoussac, however, is this feeling of well-being that comes over you when you are here. In these surroundings, between the water, the mountains and the village, the air you breathe is pure and you really feel as though you are living in the present moment." Read more »
Read all testimonials
Highlights
  • Forillon National Park

    Several species of whales feed in the waters off Forillon. Set off to encounter them with Croisières Baie de Gaspé and learn how to identify them. You can also observe whales from the coastal trails in the park.
  • Marine Environment Discovery Centre

    The MEDC is one of the best coastal sites to observe whales and is part of a network of land-based whale-watching sites in Côte-Nord. With any luck, you will hear the blows of the whales as they surface and can observe them through our telescopes.
  • Croisières AML (cruises)

    Enjoy a whale-watching cruise by sightseeing boat or Zodiac departing from Rivière-du-Loup or Tadoussac.
See all whale watching companies (19) and plan my trip

Percé: The Pearl of Gaspésie

Presented by: Ville de Percé
From the heart of the village of Percé, the trails up Mt. Sainte-Anne and Mt. Blanc lead to spectacular views.
A must-see for visitors: Percé Rock and Bonaventure Island by boat.
Photo: iStock Photo
Admire the largest and most accessible northern gannet colony in the world, which is home to 120,000 of these birds.
Photo: Marie Leblanc
A visit to Percé provides an opportunity to observe whales in their natural habitat.
Photo: JF Gagné
Commune with nature while kayaking around legendary Percé Rock.
Photo: Marie Leblanc
Percé’s audio-guided historical tour recounts the extraordinary history of the sites and buildings that attract visitors’ attention and admiration in this village.
Photo: Marie Leblanc
Visit an authentic general store where local people in period costume will entertain you with humorous anecdotes about the history of our pioneers.
Photo: Bianca Thibert
The harbour in L’Anse-à-Beaufils: an opportunity to discover regional history and culture.
Photo: Jean Pierre Huard / ATRG
You never know what treasures await you along the Mountain and River trails (40 km / 25 mi.).
Photo: JF Gagné
The largest interior lagoon in the province of Québec is a spectacular sight from both the sea side and the marsh side!
Photo: Photo Plein Ciel / Ville de Percé
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Whale Watching Photos
Click on photo to enlarge
  • Blow of Blue Whales in Gaspésie
  • Whale watching by kayak
  • Minke whale with the Île Verte Lighthouse in the background
  • Whale watching from a Zodiac off Cap-Gaspé, Forillon National Park of Canada
See all whale watching photos
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