OHI: The GDP of Oceans

"Ocean Health Index" is a new study launched by scientists which aims at "Evaluating the health of oceans and how people benefit from them". Marine ecologist Ben Harlpen terms OHI as the "GDP" of ocean.He explains "The concept of gross domestic product was not invented until just over 75 years ago. Before then, there was no simple way to track how well a nation’s economy and its people were doing. Now GDP is cited all the time"

Halpern further explains the "health" of an ocean and the idea underlying OHI in these words "We are not defining a healthy ocean  as pristine, free from the influence of people. An index of ‘pristineness’ would have no relevance to policy, since ocean policy is made for the people, by the people. The ocean and people are inextricably linked, from sustenance to jobs to spiritual connections; people use, influence, or value every corner of the world’s oceans...................Using indicators that measure the intensity of the most urgent ocean stressors, including climate change, ocean acidification, overfishing, habitat degradation, invasive species, loss of biodiversity, pollution and eutrophication, the Ocean Health Index will measure the status and trends of ocean health and its components. The index will also assess trends in remedial actions taken to conserve marine habitats. Finally, the index will relate trends in ocean health to benefits provided to people and human well-being.".

He further adds,
We want bountiful seafood, thriving coastal communities, and gorgeous places to explore. But reaping these benefits involves tough choices. One of science’s roles is to inform decision-makers and the public about the likely consequences of decisions and remind us, whether we like it or not, that Earth's resources are not infinite.
It is human nature to assume we can have it all. Reality, particularly with an eye toward a sustainable future, tells us that we can’t, and that tough choices lie ahead. The Ocean Health Index will help us confront those choices with open eyes."

Data collected from Discovery News


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