August's Science Watch included the summary of the work done by Horta e Costa et al. (2016), which proposed a new global Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) classification system based on regulation of uses. Now we post a response of Dudley et al. to the work of Horta e Costa et al., which has been published in the same journal.
The authors of this response state that whilst Horta e Costa et al. highlight some important issues and suggest some interesting options, there are strong arguments to stick with the existing classification system. Those are as follows:
- The importance of having a global protected area classification system that includes both marine and terrestrial (many protected areas contain both).
- The challenge of generating accurate data, which would be increased by the proposals.
- MPAs have multiple objectives beyond fishing controls.
In addition the authors highlight that the current system was determined after a lengthy consultation process, involving hundreds of professionals around the world, and should not therefore be casually abandoned. They state that this does not mean that the defined categories are perfect and will be revised in the future, but they believe that the current category system, which is relatively robust, wide-ranging but still comparatively simple to apply is the best option, particularly during a time of rapid expansion of the world's protected areas.
Dudley N, Day J, Laffoley D, Hockings M, Stolton S. Defining marine protected areas: A response to Horta e Costa et al. Marine Policy http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2016.11.024