Document Type


Publication Date



The Gully, Nova Scotia, Canadian Oceans Act 1996, Marine Protected Areas, Management Zones


The Gully, a submarine canyon hosting a rich diversity of marine life off Nova Scotia, was designated in 2004 under Canada’s Oceans Act 1996 as a marine protected area (MPA). This case study reviews the Gully MPA legal and management framework through a five-part discussion. First described is the overall Canadian law and policy context for establishing MPAs. Next, specific legislative and regulatory provisions governing the Gully MPA are summarized including the three types of management zones adopted, ranging from strict preservation to multi-use. Management approaches to control human activities in and around the MPA are then described, with a focus on the Gully Marine Protected Area Management Plan. Ongoing management challenges are highlighted including implementation of the ecosystem approach, unresolved legal issues, such as what constitutes a disturbance of the Gully MPA for prosecution purposes, and governance limitations, in particular limited financial and human resources. The case study concludes with lessons to be learned from the Gully MPA experience. Key lessons include: the time-consuming nature of MPA establishment, the usefulness of multi purpose zoning, the need for a multi-agency approach, the value of strong communication with user groups, the importance of linking MPA designation to integrated management planning, and the need for ongoing law and policy review.


© 2011 International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources Reproduction of this publication for educational or other non-commercial purposes is authorized without prior written permission from the copyright holder provided the source is fully acknowledged.