The April 2009 edition of MPA News featured an article on the role of MPAs in ecosystem-based management (EBM). We invited readers to participate in an online poll on the subject, with the goal of measuring attitudes on the relationship between these management measures. MPA News conducted an identical poll in 2006 (MPA News 8:6).

Several dozen readers from around the world participated in the poll – thank you. A summary of your answers is below. Most noteworthy is an apparent shift in appreciation for the importance of ecosystem-based management to the success of MPAs. Whereas three years ago results were evenly mixed, this year’s respondents strongly stated that EBM of surrounding water and land was necessary for MPAs to achieve their conservation goals.

The poll results are below, with a comparison to the 2006 findings:

Question 1: Can an MPA be successful if there is no ecosystem-based management of adjacent water and land outside the MPA?
2006: Yes 52% – No 48% – Don’t know/Not sure 0%
2009: Yes 37% – No 59% – Don’t know/Not sure 4%

Question 2: Can ecosystem-based management be successful if MPAs are not used as a component in that management system?
2006: Yes 46% – No 48% – Don’t know/Not sure 6%
2009: Yes 32% – No 50% – Don’t know/Not sure 18%

Question 3: If you can, please give examples of places where you think ecosystem-based management is being implemented effectively.
Answer (2009): The most common answer in this year’s poll, shared by 59% of respondents, was either no response at all or a variation on “I don’t know any examples.” The second-most common answer was the Great Barrier Reef (9%). Other places mentioned by multiple respondents included New Zealand, Fiji, California’s MPA system, and the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary.

Three respondents were selected at random to receive an MPA News canvas tote bag.