Operationalizing Ocean Health: Toward Integrated Research on Ocean Health and Recovery to Achieve Ocean Sustainability

Last modified: 
June 30, 2020 - 3:19pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2020
Date published: 06/2020
Authors: Andrea Franke, Thorsten Blenckner, Carlos Duarte, Konrad Ott, Lora Fleming, Avan Antia, Thorsten Reusch, Christine Bertram, Jonas Hein, Ulrike Kronfeld-Goharani, Jan Dierking, Annegret Kuhn, Chie Sato, Erik van Doorn, Marlene Wall, Markus Schartau, Rolf Karez, Larry Crowder, David Keller, Anja Engel, Ute Hentschel, Enno Prigge
Journal title: One Earth
Volume: 2
Issue: 6
Pages: 557 - 565
ISSN: 25903322

Protecting the ocean has become a major goal of international policy as human activities increasingly endanger the integrity of the ocean ecosystem, often summarized as “ocean health.” By and large, efforts to protect the ocean have failed because, among other things, (1) the underlying socio-ecological pathways have not been properly considered, and (2) the concept of ocean health has been ill defined. Collectively, this prevents an adequate societal response as to how ocean ecosystems and their vital functions for human societies can be protected and restored. We review the confusion surrounding the term “ocean health” and suggest an operational ocean-health framework in line with the concept of strong sustainability. Given the accelerating degeneration of marine ecosystems, the restoration of regional ocean health will be of increasing importance. Our advocated transdisciplinary and multi-actor framework can help to advance the implementation of more active measures to restore ocean health and safeguard human health and well-being.

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