By Ameer Abdulla, ameer.abdulla [at] gmail.com
When is an MPA not an MPA? When it is an area that is not protecting marine resources, but instead managing them and allowing for their regulated use. The answer seems simple and I may be stating the obvious. So why is it that we still struggle with calling areas that are not no-take zones — that are not protected — marine protected areas when clearly they should be called marine managed areas (MMAs)? “Marine protected area” should be a term used only to describe a no-take marine reserve, not an area that is managed with different zones that may or may not include a no-take zone.
The IUCN definition for Marine Protected Area seems to be derived from a terrestrial definition of Protected Areas,* and may in fact more aptly describe a marine managed area: