Management Activities

Sunset view from a research vessel in the Gully MPA.The Gully Marine Protected Area (MPA) requires ongoing management by Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) and its partners to ensure the following priorities are addressed:

  • Ensure that human activities within and around the MPA are compliant and consistent with the Regulations and conservation objectives
  • Promote collaboration and partnerships among users, regulators and other interests in MPA management
  • Coordinate and carry-out surveillance of the MPA and enforcement of the Regulations
  • Increase awareness of the MPA and conservation issues among the general public through outreach
  • Support and conduct research in the MPA
  • Ensure that monitoring and evaluation of the design, management and effectiveness of the MPA is conducted on a regular basis

Gully MPA Management Plan

The Gully MPA Management Plan was released in 2008 to support the MPA Regulations and provide guidance to DFO, marine users, the public and other regulators on protecting and managing this important ecosystem. The Plan provides a multi-year framework that includes an overall vision, objectives and priorities for conservation. It also includes a description of the regulations, boundaries and zones and specific actions to protect the Gully ecosystem.

The Plan outlines several conservation objectives designed to protect the overall health and integrity of the Gully ecosystem:

  • protecting the natural biodiversity of the Gully
  • protecting the physical structure of the Gully and its physical and chemical properties
  • maintaining the productivity of the Gully ecosystem

To achieve these objectives, DFO has focused on the following operational priorities:

Ecosystem Monitoring: A monitoring framework of indicators designed to measure important ecosystem properties has been developed and data collection and analyses are ongoing.

Monitoring of Human Activities: Shipping, fishing, research, tourism, and oil and gas activities occurring in and around the Gully MPA are regularly monitored and analyzed to ensure human use of the area remains compatible with the conservation objectives of the MPA.

Compliance Promotion: Activities to promote compliance include development of best practice guidelines, recognition and adoption of industry codes of practice, and promotion and development of stewardship initiatives. For example, DFO has worked with the Canada-Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board (CNSOPB) to develop protocols and policies to help guide the environmental assessment and operation of oil and gas activities that may have an impact on the Gully.

Education and Outreach: DFO’s ongoing efforts to promote the Gully MPA have included speaking engagements at schools, museums, and national and international conferences, and the development of a range of educational materials such as videos, displays at the Bedford Institute of Oceanography, a brochure, and even a Gully colouring book!

Gully MPA Activity Approvals: DFO permits research, monitoring and educational activities in the MPA provided they are consistent with the conservation objectives and do not cause unjustifiable disturbance, damage, destruction or removal of Gully ecosystem components. View information on how to apply to conduct an activity in the Gully MPA.

Evaluation and Reporting: A review of Gully MPA management was recently conducted to measure DFO’s progress towards meeting the commitments laid out in the Gully MPA management plan and other Oceans Act MPA program guidance and policies. The findings were released in 2012 and are being used to inform the review and revision of the Gully Management Plan.

Gully Advisory Committee

The Gully Advisory Committee (GAC) provides advice to DFO regarding the management of the MPA. The Advisory Committee, chaired by DFO, comprises a core group of key government and non-government interests with skills, knowledge and experience relating to the ecology, management, conservation and use of the Gully area.

DFO uses the experience and expertise of the GAC to help develop feasible and practical conservation measures. In particular, the Committee is involved in the pre-decision stage during the review and assessment of activity plans submitted for approval under Sections 5 and 6 of the MPA Regulations. The Committee also provides a forum for information and idea sharing among participants on topics related to the Gully and surrounding area. The Committee generally meets twice per year and also holds working group sessions for issues of particular interest.

Terms of Reference for the GAC, which describe its composition and roles and responsibilities, as well as minutes from past meetings, are available by request.

Surveillance and Enforcement

Atlantic fisheries surveillance planeAs the lead federal authority for the Gully MPA, DFO has the overall responsibility for ensuring that the regulations and conservation measures are respected and enforced. DFO has legislated enforcement responsibilities under the Oceans Act, the Fisheries Act, the Species at Risk Act, and other federal legislation covering fisheries conservation, environmental protection, habitat protection, and marine safety. Surveillance activities include aerial patrols and collection and monitoring of fisheries intelligence from sources such as observer reports, fishing logbooks and vessel position reports from the automated vessel monitoring system (VMS). DFO also provides leadership and coordination for the surveillance, monitoring, and enforcement activities of other government partners that support the MPA. This includes coordination and information sharing with Transport Canada, Environment Canada and the Department of National Defence.


Oceans and Coastal Management Division
Fisheries and Oceans Canada (Maritimes Region)
Bedford Institute of Oceanography
PO Box 1006
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
B2Y 4A2
Phone: (902) 426-9919
Fax: (902) 426-2331