Likely Future State
An Index Organized by
10 Public Goals
Each goal has an optimum reference point determined by a team of experts. The target is considered attainable and is more sustainable than the current conditions. A score of 100 meets the target. The Ocean Health Index was started in 2012 and reports new scores annually. Roll over the chart to learn more about each goal.
Visit the Annual Change page
to view the Index over time
Seafood is a fundamental component of our diet, contributing to the basic protein needs of nearly half of the world’s population. This goal measures the amount of seafood harvested primarily for human consumption and how sustainable it is.
Food Provision is divided into two sub-goals: Wild-caught commercial seafood and Mariculture, or ocean-farmed seafood.
Local fishing provides jobs and feeds families in communities around the world, especially in developing nations. This goal measures the degree to which a nation permits or encorages artisanal fishing compared to the demand for fishing opportunities, and in the future will include the sustainability of artisanal fishing practices.
From seashells and sponges to aquarium specimens, non-food ocean resources support local economies and international trade. This goal measures the amount and sustainability of harvest levels pertaining to marine ornamental fish specimens for aquariums, coral products, fish oil, seaweed, sponges, and shells.
The ocean and the coastal plant habitats fringing its shores play a major role in slowing global warming by absorbing and storing atmospheric carbon (CO2). This goal measures the current condition or area of coastal plant habitat coverage relative that in ~1980.
Coral reefs, mangroves, seagrasses, salt marshes, and sea ice act as natural buffers against incoming waves, protecting people from storm damage, flooding, and erosion. This goal assesses the amount of protection these coastal habitats provide by measuring the current area they cover relative to the area they covered in the recent past.
The ocean is an important source of jobs and revenue for individuals, businesses, and communities worldwide. This goal measures a country’s ability to maintain coastal livelihoods and economies in ten marine sectors, from shipping and transportation to wave and tidal energy.
This goal is divided into two sub-goals: Livelihoods, and Economies.
Whether it's a day at the beach, snorkeling on reefs, or a weeklong cruise, people enjoy visiting coastal areas and taking part in the many recreational activities that they offer. This goal evaluates the attraction of (priced and un-priced) coastal and marine activities by measuring the number and length of international tourist visits, and sustainability as indicated by tourist density.
People derive a sense of cultural identity from coastal and marine areas. For people living both near to and far from the ocean, knowing that particular species or places exist provides important cultural, spiritual, and personal value. Sense of Place measures the condition of culturally iconic species and the percentage of protected places within a country.
Sense of Place is divided into two sub-goals:
Iconic Species, and Special Places
Waters contaminated by pollutants have negatively impact human health, livelihoods, and recreational opportunities, as well as the health of marine wildlife and ecosystems. This goal measures the degree to which waters are polluted by eutrophication (excess nutrients mostly from fertilizers or sewage), chemicals, pathogens, and trash.
An ocean filled with diverse species and flourishing habitats can produce food, jobs, recreation, coastal protection, and other benefits now and in the future. This goal measures the conservation status of marine species and the condition of key habitats that support species richness and diversity.
Biodiversity is divided into two sub-goals: Species and Habitats.
Overall and Goal Scores by EEZ
- Food Provision
- Artisanal Fishing Opportunities
- Natural Products
- Carbon Storage
- Coastal Protection
- Coastal Livelihoods & Economies
- Tourism & Recreation
- Sense of Place
- Clean Waters