Northwest Fisheries Science Center

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Document Type: Journal Article
Center: NWFSC
Document ID: 4167
Title: An index to assess the health and benefits of the global ocean
Author: B. S. Halpern, K. L. McLeod, Catherine Longo, Darren Hardy, J. F. Samhouri, Steve K. Katona, K. Kleisner, S. E. Lester, J. O'Leary, M. Ranelletti, A. A. Rosenberg, C. Scarborough, Elizabeth R. Selig, B. D. Best, D. R. Brumbaugh, F. S. Chapin, L. B. Crowder, Kendra L. Daly, S. C. Doney, C. Elfes, M. J. Fogarty, Steven D. Gaines, K. I. Jacobsen, L. B. Karrer, H. Leslie, E. Neeley, Daniel Pauly, S. Polasky, B. Ris
Publication Year: 2012
Journal: Nature
Volume: 488
Pages: 615-620
Keywords: indicator,ecosystem management

The ocean plays a critical role in supporting human well-being, from providing food, livelihoods and recreational opportunities to regulating the global climate.  Sustainable management aimed at maintaining the flow of a broad range of benefits from the ocean requires a comprehensive and quantitative method to measure and monitor the health of coupled human–ocean systems.  We created an index comprising ten diverse public goals for a healthy coupled human–ocean system and calculated the index for every coastal country.  Globally, the overall index score was 60 out of 100 (range 36-86), with developed countries generally performing better than developing countries, but with notable exceptions.  Only 5% of countries scored higher than 70, whereas 32% scored lower than 50.  The index provides a powerful tool to raise public awareness, direct resource management, improve policy and prioritize scientific research.

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Notes: doi: 10.1038/nature11397
Theme: Sustaining Marine Ecosystem and Human Health