Today is World Oceans Day. And for the first time, a study has analyzed the condition of Hawaiʻi's ocean environment.
Conservation International, in partnership with state, federal and community partners, conducted the first Ocean Health Index for the state.
An Ocean Health Index is a tool containing culural, economic and ecological data. It can be used by researchers to track and monitor ocean health, and guide management efforts. The index measures the status of six goals: coastal protection, biodiversity, sustainable tourism, food provision, livelihoods and economies, and sense of place.
Each category is analyzed by experts and researchers in their respective fields. The fields are then scored to reflect how close Hawaiʻi is to reaching its targets for a healthy ocean. In this case, the goals are set by the state's Aloha+ Challenge.
Eva Schemmel is a Science Advisor with Conservation International.
She says Hawaii scored a 74 out of a possible 100 points. And the data collected will provide a baseline for future indices.
Schemmel says other countries and communities with ocean environments have completed an Ocean Health Index. But scores cannot be compared with others, because of different standards and goals set by those areas.
More information can be found online at www.oceanhealthindex.org