QUEBEC CITY -- The Francois Legault government is prohibiting access to hydrocarbons below the Gulf of St. Lawrence's fragile seabed.

Alberta companies are eyeing the gas potential of the seabed, but Environment Minister Benoit Charette said Wednesday morning he had no intention of authorizing exploration in these fragile ecosystems.

He answered questions from Quebec solidaire (QS) MNA Ruba Ghazal, and Parti Quebecois (PQ) MNA Sylvain Gaudreault, and the minister said that there was a moratorium, which was not about to be lifted.

However, Charette added that it was necessary to negotiate on the transfer of the rights of companies on these funds, which are called claims.

-- this report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2021.