Mixed Results: 2016 Ocean Health Index Shows No Major Declines, And Few Real Improvements

2016-12-15T12:51:37+00:00 December 15, 2016|
The recently released 2016 Ocean Health Index showed no major declines but also little improvement. (Credit: Pexels)

(Click to enlarge) The recently released 2016 Ocean Health Index showed no major declines but also little improvement. (Credit: Pexels)

The results are in, and while the world’s oceans show no significant decline over the past year, their condition should not be mistaken as a clean bill of health.

(From ScienceDaily)– So say the scientists behind the 2016 Ocean Health Index (OHI), an annual study that evaluates key aspects — biological, physical, economic and social — of ocean health worldwide. The OHI defines a healthy ocean as one that sustainably delivers a range of benefits to people now and in the future based on 10 diverse public goals. This year’s score is 71, unchanged from those for 2013-2015, which were recalculated using the current year’s improved methods.

“We’ve given the oceans their annual checkup and the results are mixed,” said UC Santa Barbara ecologist Ben Halpern, OHI chief scientist. “It’s as if you went to the doctor and heard that, although you don’t have a terminal disease, you really need to change your diet, exercise a lot more and get those precancerous skin lesions removed. You’re glad you’re not going to die but you need to change your lifestyle.”

Established in 2012, the OHI is a partnership between UCSB’s National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS) and the nonprofit environmental organization Conservation International. The index serves as a comprehensive tool for understanding, tracking and communicating in a holistic way the status of the ocean’s health. It also provides a basis for identifying and promoting the most effective actions for improved ocean management on subnational, national, regional and global scales.

“What is really exciting about having several years of assessment is that 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,” said Halpern, director of NCEAS and a professor in UCSB’s Bren School of Environmental Science & Management.

Scores for each goal — or subgoal — range from 0 to 100, and the fourth consecutive global score of 71 indicates that while the ocean has remained stable, its condition is far from the desired 100 that would indicate full sustainability.

Read the full article here: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/12/161208125821.htm