|Wayag Lagoon, Raja Ampat, Indonesia (Photo: K. Ellenbogen)|
This scoring methodology recognizes that humans are part of the natural system, and that the benefits we derive from the oceans depend on our ability to manage our impact in a sustainable and thoughtful way.
|Exuma Cays Land And Sea Park, Bahamas (Photo: J. Yonover)|
To assess the relative state of the world’s oceans, the Index accounts for ten major goals that contribute to the health and quality of a country’s waters. These ten goals represent the key ecological, social, and economic benefits that a healthy ocean provides. Each goal score is averaged to provide an overall score for ocean health (ranging from 0 to 100) on a country-by-country basis.
|Tuna fishing boat in Manta, Ecuador. Among other goals, the Eastern Tropical Pacific Seascape aims to help participating countries regulate their fisheries sustainably. (© CI/photo by Keith Lawrence)|
These indicators can promote action. A perfect example of this is Colombia, which scored 62 out of 100 on the overall Index score. The overall score was driven by low scores in both Food Provision and Tourism and Recreation. Colombia regarded this score as a call to make political decisions that would improve the management of natural resources. The Colombian government launched a “Blue Agenda," to strengthen the implementation and enforcement of existing environmental protection systems and supporting jobs, biodiversity, clean water initiatives and sustainable food production. Read more about those efforts and similar work done in Ecuador in response to the Index.
The Index is emerging as an important vehicle for elevating the profile of and promoting discourse on the conservation and management of marine resources. While the final Index score may provide an important benchmark and incentive for some, countries like Colombia are using the evaluation process to take meaningful action. After a year the Index is prompting change.
Vice President of Conservation
New England Aquarium
Director of Conservation
New England Aquarium
The Nature Conservancy
NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center