SI2019-A-1: 15 years of the Gully Marine Protected Area: modernizing one of Canada’s oldest MPAs – Emma Marotte and Catherine Schram

In the past year the Government of Canada has not only surpassed its Marine Conservation Targets of protecting 10% of marine and coastal areas, but has also introduced new protection standards for all Federal Marine Protected Areas (MPAs). The Gully MPA, established in 2004 under Canada’s Oceans Act, is one of Canada’s oldest MPAs and one of Sable Island’s closest neighbours. Established to protect an endangered population of northern bottlenose whales, the Gully is also home to a number of other species of whales and dolphins, and over 30 species of cold-water corals.

This past summer, a team of researchers from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) used a remotely-operated deep-water submersible to explore parts of the Gully never seen before. Many of the species encountered were new discoveries for the area, and some may even be new to science. As we continue to discover more about the Gully, and as human activities in the ocean increase, adaptive management strategies will play an important role in the way that we ensure the preservation of this unique ecosystem. This presentation will explore how we can continue to protect the Gully, and other MPAs, using modern tools developed for the next era of ocean governance.