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Caribbean rankings in the Ocean Health Index

How do Caribbean countries rank on the global Ocean Health Index?

Ocean Health Index
Came across this fascinating site today: Ocean Health Index:

The Ocean Health Index is a valuable tool for the ongoing assessment of ocean health. By providing a means to advance comprehensive ocean policy and compare future progress, the Index can inform decisions about how to use or protect marine ecosystems.

How are scores calculated?

The Ocean Health Index evaluates the condition of marine ecosystems according to 10 human goals, which represent the key ecological, social, and economic benefits that a healthy ocean provides. A healthy ocean is one that can sustainably deliver a range of benefits to people now and in the future.

A goal scores highest when the maximum sustainable benefit is achieved through methods that do not compromise the ocean’s ability to deliver that benefit in the future. The Index score is the average of the 10 goal scores.

All goals are measured in relation to a reference point, or target. The reference points and components used to evaluate a goal’s Status, Trend, Pressure, and Resilience vary by goal.

The 10 goals used in the Index are (the order of listing does imply priority):

  1. Food provision – harvesting seafood sustainably
  2. Artisanal fishing opportunities – ensuring food for local communities
  3. Natural products – harvesting non-food ocean resources sustainably
  4. Carbon storage – preserving habitats that absorb carbon
  5. Coastal protection – preserving habitats that safeguard shores
  6. Coastal livelihoods and economies – sustaining jobs and thriving coastal economies
  7. Tourism and recreation – maintaining the attraction of coastal destinations
  8. Sense of place – protecting iconic species and special places
  9. Clean waters – minimizing pollution
  10. Biodiversity – supporting healthy marine ecosystems

How does the Caribbean fare on the Ocean Health Index? Antigua and Barbuda is rated as having the healthiest oceans in the Caribbean (and is ranked #8 in the world out of 171 countries), with an OHI score of 71 out of 100. The Caribbean country with the lowest OHI index is, to my great surprise, Dominica, with a score of only 43 out of 100.

I find it very difficult to believe that Dominica has the least healthy oceans in the Caribbean—I suspect that this index is affected by a problem that plagues Caribbean countries when it comes to this kind of ranking: lack/unavailability of data to support a thoroughly informed comparison. In any case, I’ve put together a table that summarizes the results for the region to give an overview of how the Caribbean measures up; you can download (right-click and save) a PDF of that table if you’re interested.

For more information, I highly recommend that you visit the site, take a look at the Index tables and interactive maps, see where your country is ranked, and read up on the evaluation criteria, the evaluation methods and the Index in general.

(Found via the Caribbean Youth Environment Network Facebook page.)

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One Response to “Caribbean rankings in the Ocean Health Index” Subscribe

  1. Simon October 21, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    What a ridiculous survey under the disguise of science. Dominica has no major industry, few large pockets of populations, limited agriculture these days and extremely deep surrounding waters. Any recreational diver can attest to the huge fish populations and incredibly vibrant healthy reefs. Look at our fish market and you will see tuna, dorado, marlin and other pelagic fish with a mattering of reef fish. Our neighbors fish marjets are full of small reef fish of every species, indicative of overfishing and lack of control of their fisheries. We have MPAs in the South and North.
    When a investor wanted to start a coral growing growing farm with patented methods he visited every Caribbean island and tested the waters methodically, the cleanest waters? Dominica.
    Reports like these should be more careful as they can damage the reputation of a destination. Dominica works extremely hard to protect its resources and there are numerous examples of this. We do not rely on beach tourism but Nature lovers, divers and hikers so these resources are the foundation of our tourism.

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