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2015 Ocean Health Index scores are available for the same 221 Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) that were measured in 2013 and 2012. New to the Index in 2014 are scores for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and for 15 sectors of the High Seas.
This year is the first time we have scores for all global oceans worldwide. Below are a few of the key findings.
The 2015 Global Ocean Health Index
The 2015 study assessed the coastline (from the shore to 1
km inland) and waters (out to 200 nautical miles) of 221 regions, representing
all coastal countries and territories as well as the Antarctic region. Areas
beyond national jurisdiction (‘high seas’) were assessed in 2014, but not this
The overall score, 70 is unchanged from 2014 and 2013, though improved by one point since 2012. Though not as bad as it could be, the score of 70 remains far from 100, sending a strong message that marine life would fare better and we would gain more benefits if we used the ocean in more sustainable ways.
Most scores have not changed much from 2012-2015. An uptick in the score for Livelihoods & Economies between 2012 and 2013 may reflect the beginning of marine sector economic recovery from the recession that began in 2008. Slight increases also occurred for the Mariculture subgoal of Food Provision and for Tourism & Recreation. Rapid change in year-to-year global level scores is not expected, since change in most conditions usually cannot take place that quickly.
ranged from 43 (Libya) to 92 (Prince Edward Islands). The only other region to
score 90 or above was Howland Island and Baker Island (90). Remote uninhabited islands scored highest, showing that
despite the Ocean Health Index’s emphasis on benefits to people, relatively
pristine locations can still score very high.
Prince Edward Islands (92)
Howland Island and Baker Island (90)
Macquarie Island (87)
Heard and McDonald Islands (87)
Phoenix Group (86).
Two French island territories, Northern Saint-Martin (86) (population 38,000) and New Caledonia (85) (population 269,000), scored highest for populated areas.
LOWEST SCORES Nine (9) countries scored 50 or below:
North Korea and Lebanon (both 50)
Liberia and Nicaragua (both 48)
Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Democratic Republic of the Congo (all 47)
Dominica (46) and Libya (43).
By comparison, 20 countries scored 50 or below in 2014. As in previous years when some of these same countries were among the lowest scoring areas, all are poor and many have a recent history of conflict, dictatorship or natural disasters. Such conditions deplete the capacity to institute resilience actions that could reduce social and environmental pressures. Until those conditions are overcome, rapid increase in scores of such regions is not likely.
Scores for individual goals (lowest to highest) were:
Tourism & Recreation (50),
Natural Products (52)
Food Production (52)
Sense of Place (59)
Artisinal Fishing Opportunities (68)
Clean Waters (74)
Carbon Storage (79)
Livelihoods & Economies (82)
Coastal Protection (87)
The lowest scoring subgoal was Mariculture (27, which contributed to the low score for Food Production). The Biodiversity score (88) is deceptively high, since the decline in current extent and condition of assessed habitats has occurred over only about three decades.