The Gully is located approximately 200 kilometres off Nova Scotia, to the east of Sable Island, on the edge of the Scotian Shelf. Here, the seafloor suddenly drops away over two and a half kilometres. This large and deep submarine valley or canyon was formed thousands of years ago by erosion when sea levels were much lower. Over 65 kilometres long and 15 kilometres wide, the Gully is one of the most prominent undersea features on the east coast of Canada.
There are still questions regarding what lives in the deep canyon or if there are species yet to be discovered. The Gully has significant coral communities, a diversity of both shallow and deep-water fishes, and a variety of whales and dolphins. A resident population of northern bottlenose whales is found in the deep canyon area. These whales are among the world’s deepest divers and make regular trips to the canyon depths for food. As well, the region around the Gully supports a number of commercial fisheries and is important to the oil and gas industry. The Gully ecosystem transcends shallow sandy banks, a deep-water canyon environment, and portions of the continental slope and abyssal plain, providing habitat for a wide diversity of species.
Following a comprehensive planning and consultation process, the Minister of Fisheries and Oceans announced the designation of the Gully Marine Protected Area in May 2004. The MPA designation provides legal protection for the natural biological diversity and ecosystem health of the Gully. DFO is continuing to work with its government partners, industry, non-government organizations, the science community, and other interested groups in the management and conservation of this exceptional marine area.
The MPA regulations prohibit the disturbance, damage, destruction or removal of any living marine organism or habitat within the Gully. The MPA contains three management zones, each providing varying levels of protection based on conservation objectives and ecological sensitivities. An ecosystem approach has been applied in the design of the MPA wherein human activities are assessed against the ecosystem features being protected in the Gully. The regulations also control human activities in areas around the Gully that could cause harmful effects within the MPA boundary."
The Gully is a large underwater canyon in the Atlantic Ocean near the edge of the eastern continental shelf of North America . It is located east of Nova Scotia near Sable Island .
The Gully is 40 km long and 16 km wide and reaches depths of over 1 km. It is home to a resident population of Northern Bottlenose Whale , Purple sunstarfish and deep-sea coral . Other species of whales , dolphins , fish , squid and shrimp also live there. The Gully is threatened by offshore oil and gas.
In 2004, Canada designated The Gully a Marine Protected Area.
Contacts & Resources
Original data record from World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA) via ProtectedPlanet.net [view record on site].