Dudley et al.  commented on our paper , arguing that the current IUCN objective-based categorization of protected areas, which is also used in marine protected areas (MPAs), should not be abandoned and replaced by the new regulation-based classification system . Here we clarify that we do not advocate replacing 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 MPAs. With an increasing number of MPA types being implemented, most of them multiple-use areas zoned for various purposes, assessing ecological and socioeconomic benefits is key for advancing conservation targets and policy objectives. 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. 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. Applying both the IUCN categories and the regulation-based classes will increase transparency when assessing marine conservation goals.
Horta e Costa, B., Claudet, J., Franco, G., Erzini, K., Caro, A., & Gonçalves, E. J. (2017). A regulation-based classification system for marine protected areas: A response to Dudley et al.. Marine Policy, 77, 193–195. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.marpol.2016.11.025