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Cayes à Meck (QC076)


Cayes à Meck (QC076)

Îles de Mingan, Québec

Latitude 50.268°N
Longitude 63.714°W
Altitude 0 - 10m
Area 12.57km²

Site Description

Cayes à Meck are three small islets located in the western part of the Mingan archipelago, 1 km off the north shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Québec. The IBA encompasses the land and water in a two km radius circle which has its centre point in the middle of the largest island. The islets of the Mingan archipelago are comprised of limestone rock, which is extensively quarried in nearby areas. These islets are part of the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve; information and interpretation centers are located in Havre-Saint-Pierre and Longue-Pointe. Mean annual temperature is 1.5°C and mean annual tidal amplitude is approximately 1.5 meters.


Many Common Terns, and a small number of Arctic Terns breed at Cayes à Meck. Numbers seem to currently in decline since in 1992, 1,325 pairs were recorded, in 1995 583 pairs were recorded and in 1999 475 pairs were present. The three-year average of 954 pairs is over 1% of the North American population of Common Terns, however a small, unknown proportion of the terns are Arctic Terns. Ring-billed Gulls and Common Eiders also breed on these islets. In 1998, over 200 pairs of gulls and 19 pairs of Common Eiders were recorded. In winter, large flocks of Common Eiders can be found in the waters surrounding the Mingan archipelago.

Conservation Issues

The decline in the tern population from 1992 to 1999 on Cayes à Meck can largely be attributed to the predation of nests by gulls. Although access to the islands of the National Park Reserve is controlled (visits are not permitted during the breeding season), disturbance of birds by boats or people remains a potential threat. Additionally, the strict park rules are inadequate at deterring poaching of seabird and waterfowl eggs. The St. Lawrence is one of the busiest ship-traversed waterways in North America. Therefore, the marine wildlife, including eiders, terns and gulls, are threatened by potential oil spills that are often associated with heavy shipping traffic.

IBA Criteria Habitats Land Uses Potential or Ongoing Threats Conservation Status
Common Eider
Number Year Season