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Research Document 1998/83

The Gully: A Scientific Review of its Environment and Ecosystem

By W.G. Harrison and D.G. Fenton (editors)

Abstract

The Gully, a large submarine canyon east of Sable Island on the eastern Scotian Shelf, is a feature which has been described as a unique ecological site and valued component of Atlantic Canadian coastal waters. Its suspected uniqueness and biological significance has attracted the attention of a wide range of government agencies, researchers, ocean resource industries and conservationists. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) has as one of its mandates the identification of sensitive marine areas and the development of a strategy for their conservation; the Gully is one such area which DFO has been asked to evaluate. As a first step in developing a Conservation Strategy for the Gully, DFO coordinated a thorough scientific review of the region to establish the state of knowledge of its environment and ecosystem and to place that information in the context of the greater Scotian Shelf system. Thirty-two scientific experts from DFO, other federal natural resources departments, universities and other NGOs contributed to the Gully Science Review which describes what is presently known about the regions geology, oceanography, benthos, fish, seabirds and mammals. In addition to summarizing what is known about the region's environment and ecosystem, the review also identifies information gaps and outlines future research needs.

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