Navigation Links
Rating of ocean health shows 'room for improvement'

CORVALLIS, Ore. An international group of more than 30 researchers today gave a score to every coastal nation on their contribution to the health of the world's oceans, which showed the United States as being slightly above average, and identified food provision, tourism and recreation as leading concerns.

The analysis, published in the journal Nature, scored each nation on a 0-100 scale in 10 separate categories such as clean water, biodiversity, food provision, carbon storage, coastal protection, coastal economies and others.

In this "Ocean Health Index," the world received an average score of 60. The U.S. was at 63.

This is one of the first comprehensive analyses to evaluate the global oceans in so many critical aspects, including natural health and the human dimensions of sustainability. But it's meant less to be a conclusion, the authors said, and more a baseline that can help track either improvements or declines in ocean health going into the future.

"When we conclude that the health of the oceans is 60 on a scale of 100, that doesn't mean we're failing," said Karen McLeod, an ecologist at Oregon State University, director of science at COMPASS, and one of several lead authors on the study.

"Instead, it shows there's room for improvement, suggests where strategic actions can make the biggest difference, and gives us a benchmark against which to evaluate progress over time," she said. "The index allows us to track what's happening to the whole of ocean health instead of just the parts."

The scores ranged from 36 to 86, with the highest ratings going to Jarvis Island, an uninhabited and relatively pristine coral atoll in the South Pacific Ocean. Many countries in West Africa, the Middle East and Central America scored poorly, while higher ratings went to parts of Northern Europe, Canada, Australia and Japan.

Human activities such as overfishing, coastal development and pollution have altered marine ecosystems and eroded their capacity to provide benefits, the researchers noted in their report.

Among the findings of the study:

  • Developed countries generally, but not always, scored higher than developing countries, usually due to better economies and regulation.

  • Only 5 percent of countries scored higher than 70, and 32 percent were below 50.

  • Biodiversity scores were surprisingly high, in part because few known marine species face outright extinction.

  • The U.S. received some of its best ratings for coastal protection and strong coastal livelihoods and economies.

  • Global food provision is far below its potential, and could be improved if wild-caught fisheries were more sustainably harvested, and sustainable marine aquaculture was increased.

  • Restoration of mangroves, salt marshes, coral reefs and seagrass beds could significantly improve ocean health by addressing multiple goals at once.

  • About half of the goals are getting worse, and this assessment could be overly optimistic if existing regulations are not effectively implemented.

Other primary authors of the report were from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Conservation International, the Union of Concerned Scientists, and the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy. The work was led by the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and Conservation International.

The researchers said they hope the analysis will help inform public policy and management.


Contact: Karen McLeod
Oregon State University

Related biology news :

1. Diabetes Research Institute develops oxygen-generating biomaterial
2. Accelerating climate change exerts strong pressure on Europes mountain flora
3. Virginia Tech announces 2012 football helmet ratings; 2 more added to the 5-star mark
4. Clusters of cooperating tumor-suppressor genes are found in large regions deleted in common cancers
5. Medbox, Inc. Announces Top-Tier Rating by Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corporation
6. Potential new approach to regenerating skeletal muscle tissue
7. BWH launches a new research division focused on integrating systems biology and medicine
8. Its a bird, not a plane: York U study finds migrating songbirds depart on time
9. To know a tiger is at least to start tolerating them, study shows
10. A new energy source: Major advance made in generating electricity from wastewater
11. Oceans acidifying faster today than in past 300 million years
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, Joseph ... explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and the business ... The Internet of Healthy Things . ... smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, ... care delivery, moving care from the hospital or doctor,s ...
(Date:10/27/2015)... , Oct. 27, 2015 In the ... issues of concern for various industry verticals such as ... due to the growing demand for secure & simplified ... various ,sectors, such as hacking of bank accounts, misuse ... electronic equipment such as PC,s, laptops, and smartphones are ...
(Date:10/26/2015)... , October 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... --> adds Biometrics ... to 2021 as well as Emerging ... research reports to its collection of ... . --> ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2015)... 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - BioAmber Inc. (NYSE: BIOA ), a ... the American Business Act on Climate Pledge, alongside more than ... with the Obama Administration to demonstrate an ongoing commitment to ... to the COP21 Paris climate negotiations. ... Sarnia, Canada . --> BioAmber uses ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ALBANY, N.Y. , Nov. 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ ... led by assistant chemistry professor Jan Halámek, is ... level.   --> ...   --> ... researchers at UAlbany have discovered a straightforward concept ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... 30, 2015 /PRNewswire/ - Zenith Epigenetics Corp. ("Zenith" or the ... C.W. Wong to its Board of Directors to replace ... with a wealth of experience as co-founder of Resverlogix, with ... --> --> Dr. Wong remarked, ... of directors. Zenith,s long standing expertise in epigenetics and the ...
(Date:11/30/2015)... ... November 30, 2015 , ... ... exhibition Jurassic World: The Exhibition, opening in March 2016 at Melbourne Museum in ... worldwide tour including several North American tour dates. The Exhibition is based on ...
Breaking Biology Technology: