The Ocean Health Index (OHI) today announced its 5th annual global ocean health assessment score, 71 out of a possible 100. While the 2016 global score remains the same as the past three years, results across individual elements and regions have shifted. With five years of global assessments, the OHI scientists at NCEAS and Conservation International have begun to identify potential trends in ocean health.
"What is really exciting about having several years of assessment done is we can start to see where and by how much scores are changing year to year, and begin to understand the causes and consequences of those changes."
--Ben Halpern, NCEAS Director & Chief Scientist for the Ocean Health Index
For instance, the “Livelihoods & Economies” score increased rapidly between 2012 and 2013, which may reflect recovery from the 2008 recession. The protection of unique and special places has increased half a point every year, likely due to more marine protected areas. Meanwhile, consistently low scores for Food Provision (54) and Natural Products (48) indicate that many regions continue to harvest unsustainably.
By providing an annual comprehensive assessment of global ocean health, the OHI offers all coastal countries a starting place to compare the biological, physical, economic and social elements of ocean health, assess the status of their marine resources, and implement ecosystem-based approaches to management. In the last year, the team has also launched OHI-Science.org, which provides tools and instruction to any academic or government group interested in conducting their own, more localized OHI+ assessment.