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Marine Protected Areas: Legal Framework for the Gully off the Coast of Nova Scotia (Canada) I IUCN

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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

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.

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