Ocean Health Index: measuring the quality of our waters

The world's first Ocean Health Index will measure the oceans and how people use them, with goal score of 100.

A team of collaborators from universities, non-profit organizations and government agencies has produced the first Ocean Health Index. Building the Index was a complicated task involving over 60 experts working in different parts of the world.

The Index can be used globally, regionally or for an individual bay. It allows for direct comparison across different aspects of ocean health and different locations in a way that is not possible with current assessment tools.

The lead scientific partners of the Ocean Health Index are the University of Santa Barbara’s National Center for Ecological Synthesis and Analysis in collaboration with the University of British Columbia's Sea Around Us.

The founding partners are Conservation International, New England Aquarium, and National Geographic Society.

The Ocean Health Index takes into account the major factors that influence the quality of regional marine ecosystems like fisheries, biodiversity, tourism and carbon storage and then assigns a score from zero to 100 for each place.

The world average was 60, and individual countries and territories ranged from a low of 36 (Sierra Leone) to a high of 86 (Jarvis Island, a U.S. territory in the Pacific).