Reply to letter on Pew Fellows MPA Statement

Dear MPA News:
Your July 2005 issue (MPA News 7:1) contained a letter from John Clark, who was responding to an earlier article about the Pew Fellows MPA Action Statement, described in your June issue (6:11). In his letter, John Clark wrote in part: “To say that 10-50% of all marine ecosystems should become no-take zones ignores reality. In each part of the sea where protection is necessary, there are areas where no-take is justified within MPA boundaries, and areas where other types of management are more appropriate.”

We completely agree. The Pew Fellows statement (Recommendation 10) reads: “Place no less than 10% and as much as 50% of each ecosystem in no-take zones, according to identified needs and management options in a particular ecosystem.” Note that 10% of an ecosystem does not necessarily mean 10% of an MPA. No-take MPAs are not always the best answer. We do suggest that MPAs be linked together into networks. Within such a network, a number of individual MPAs might allow some extraction. The 10% minimum no-take area is, we feel, necessary to monitor and assess the effectiveness of an MPA network. The world’s oceans are in free fall, and their problems cannot be reversed or even arrested without significant measures to protect them.

Angel Alcala
Director, Angelo King Center for Research and Environmental Management, Silliman University, Philippines

Kristina M. Gjerde
High Seas Policy Advisor, IUCN Global Marine Program, Poland

Alan White
President, Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation, Inc., Philippines; and Coastal Resource Manager, Tetra Tech EM, Inc., 2828 Paa Street, Suite 3080, Honolulu, HI 96819, USA. E-mail:

Editor’s note: Alcala, Gjerde, and White are Pew Fellows in marine conservation (