From the many millions who count on ocean fisheries for their livelihoods to the uncounted lives saved by intact coral reefs during the 2004 Asian tsunami, people all over the world depend upon healthy oceans. But how healthy are our oceans? A new measurement tool, the Ocean Health Index, answers that question for every coastal country in the world. The Index goes far beyond just the "pristineness" of the world's oceans to measure the overall benefits people are receiving from the oceans. In a study published in the journal Nature, researchers find that that global oceans have an overall score of 60 out of 100. There is a large range in the index value around the world, with the off-shore zone near Sierra Leone scoring a low of 36 and the area around Jarvis Island in the Pacific scoring a high of 86. The value of the Ocean Health Index is that it provides a uniform way with which to measure ocean conditions around the world, a critical step for better ocean management and conservation. The Ocean Health Index was developed by several NCEAS scientists, led by Dr. Ben Halpern, and was partially supported through a NCEAS working group.
An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean
Benjamin S. Halpern, Catherine Longo, Darren Hardy, Karen L. McLeod, Jameal F. Samhouri, et al.
Nature, DOI: 10.1038/nature11397
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New York Times
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