World’s oceans in trouble but Canada’s coastline takes ninth place in new Ocean Health Index

Daily Brew

A new Ocean Health Index has been created which assesses 171 coastlines around the world on 10 factors, including biodiversity, clean water, local fishing, landscape preservation, and tourism. Countries are assigned a score out of 100 for each factor assessed, which are then averaged to give an overall score that determines their world ranking.

"The Ocean Health Index is a new, comprehensive measure of the ocean's overall condition — one that treats people and nature as integrated parts of a healthy system." says the website for the Index.

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The global oceans were given an overall score of 60 out of 100, with Canada's coastlines receiving a score of 70. That puts us tied with The Netherlands for 9th place.

The global and Canadian scores for each category are:

World Canada
Food Provision 24 63
Artisanal Fishing Opportunities 87 96
Natural Products 40 74
Carbon Storage 75 55
Coastal Protection 73 98
Coastal Livelihoods & Economies 75 68
Tourism & Recreation 10 15
Sense of Place 55 46
Clean Waters 78 89
Biodiversity 83 93

The assessment categories were carefully chosen to reflect not only the cleanliness of the ocean, but also the benefit they are providing to humanity.

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"To many it may seem uncomfortable to focus on benefits to people as the definition of a healthy ocean," said Steve Katona, who is Managing Director of the Ocean Health Index. "Yet, policy and management initiatives around the world are embracing exactly this philosophy. Whether we like it or not, people are key. If thoughtful, sustainable use of the oceans benefits human well-being, the oceans and their web of life will also benefit. The bottom line is 'healthy ocean, healthy people, healthy planet.'"