- An international team of 65 has taken on the daunting task of assessing the health of coastal oceans for every country and territory in the world that borders the sea.
- A scoring system has been developed that can be used to assess ten factors (which are biodiversity, tourism and recreation, food provision, carbon storage, coastal protection, natural products, clean waters, artisanal fishing opportunities, sense of place and coastal livelihoods and economies) to give an overall score for the stretch of water 200 nautical miles from the coast.
- The global average was 60 out of 100 with the highest score going to Jarvis Island off Hawaii with a score of 86 and the lowest score going to Sierra Leone with a score of 36 while the UK was just above average with a score of 61.
- The next step is assessing the health of deeper offshore waters.
It is hoped that this ocean health index will guide national and international ocean management as the seas are an interconnected resource. The scoring system offers future opportunities for individual countries (including the UK) to judge their own success or failure and can place the most emphasis on whichever of the ten criteria is deemed most important to their culture or priorities, be that food provision or the conservation of bio- diversity.