This is the response of Horta e Costa et al. (in press) to the comments of Dudley et al. (in press; see previous summary) on the paper on the Regulation-based Classification System for marine protected areas (Horta e Costa et al. 2016).
Dudley et al. (in press) argued that there are strong reasons to stick with the current IUCN categorization system. Horta e Costa et al. (in press) clarify that they are not advocating to replace the current IUCN categories, but highlight the benefits of using both the objective-based IUCN categories and the new regulation-based classification when applied to marine protected areas (MPAs).
The authors state that although the IUCN categories can be used both in terrestrial and marine systems, they were not designed to follow a gradient of impacts and there is often a mismatch between stated objectives and implemented regulations. It is highlighted that the new regulation-based classification system addresses these problems by linking impacts of activities in marine systems with MPA and zone classes in a simple and globally applicable way, being a useful tool to assess the policy goals when designing and implementing MPAs.
The authors conclude that applying both the IUCN categories and the regulation-based classes will increase transparency when assessing marine conservation goals and, when used together, the combination would allow advancing our common conservation targets in a meaningful way.
Horta e Costa B, Claudet J, Franco G, Erzini K, Caro A, Gonçalves EJ. A regulation-based classification system for marine protected areas: A response to Dudley et al. Marine Policy http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2016.11.025