Ocean Health Gets “D” Grade in New Global Report Card

Oct 6, 2014

Photograph by Paul Nicklen, National Geographic Creative

By Brian Clark Howard

Scientists assigned a grade for global ocean health on Tuesday, giving the world’s waters a “D” on an annual oceans report card, citing overfishing, pollution, climate change, and lack of protections as key problems.

 But the score for nations’ territorial waters—generally those that are within 200 miles (322 kilometers) of shore—has improved since 2012, and scientists say the overall outlook for the ocean is better than many expected.

The latest report card is part of the third annual update to the Ocean Health Index, which evaluates the state of the seas and the benefits they provide to people.

“This new assessment is the first fully global look at ocean health,” said Kevin Connor, a spokesperson for Conservation International, an environmental group that prepared the index with help from researchers from the University of California, Santa Barbara; the University of British Columbia; the New England Aquarium; and others.

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2 comments on “Ocean Health Gets “D” Grade in New Global Report Card

  • At least there are some efforts being made.


    Obama creates vast Pacific Ocean marine reserve

    US President Barack Obama has signed a memorandum to expand a vast marine reserve in the Pacific Ocean.

    The Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument will become the largest network of oceanic protected areas in the world.

    “We have a responsibility to make sure… the future has the same ocean to serve it. Not to be abused, but to preserve and utilise.”

    The memorandum bans commercial fishing, deep-sea mining and other extraction of underwater resources in the area.

    Environmental campaigners welcomed the move although some critics say President Obama could have done more.

    “This really is a matter of stewardship. It’s also a matter of generational responsibility,” said US Secretary of State John Kerry.

    The Pacific Remote Islands Area consists of seven scattered islands, atolls and reefs that lie between Hawaii and American Samoa.

    Now the protected area is being expanded to 200 nautical miles from the unique atolls. It will cover 490,000 sq miles (1.2m sq km) – an area roughly three times the size of California.

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