Dear MPA News:
The article on “mobile MPAs” in your March edition (MPA News 8:8) addresses a timely and important topic. Although this concept of no-take reserves with flexible boundaries is discussed in the context of protecting highly migratory species on the open ocean, the tool could be applied to other species and ecosystem types as well. The essence of ecosystem-based management is that the ocean is a dynamic system. As evidence of this dynamism:

  • Spawning grounds, nursery grounds, and larval transport pathways are often not fixed in space;
  • Overlap between predator and prey populations is constantly fluctuating; and
  • Climate change may alter fish distributions in both nearshore and offshore areas.

Designing tools able to address these types of dynamic relationships is essential, and mobile MPAs provide a promising example. Highlighting their potential application to a number of ecosystem types and developing practical ways for implementation are of key importance.

Vera Agostini
Research Scientist, Pew Institute for Ocean Science, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, 4600 Rickenbacker Cswy, Miami, FL 33149, USA. E-mail: