Measuring indicators of ocean health for an island nation: The ocean health index for Fiji

Last modified: 
August 30, 2016 - 9:37am
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2015
Date published: 01/2015
Authors: Elizabeth Selig, Melanie Frazier, Jennifer O'Leary, Stacy Jupiter, Benjamin Halpern, Catherine Longo, Kristin Kleisner, Loraini Sivo, Marla Ranelletti
Journal title: Ecosystem Services
ISSN: 22120416

People depend on the ocean to provide a range of ecosystem services, including sustaining economies and providing nutrition. We demonstrate how a global ocean health index framework can be applied to a data-limited scenario and modified to incorporate the objectives and context of a developing island nation like Fiji. Although these changes did not have a major effect on the total index value, two goals had substantial changes. The artisanal opportunities goal increased from 46 to 92 as a result of changes to the model for Fiji, which looks at the stock status of artisanally-caught species. The lasting special places sub-goal decreased from 96 to 48, due to the use of Fiji-specific data and reference points that allow policymakers to track progress towards national goals. Fiji scored high for the tourism and recreation goal, but low for the production-oriented natural products goal and mariculture sub-goal, which may reflect national values and development priorities. By measuring ocean health across a portfolio of goals and re-calculating scores over time, we can better understand potential trade-offs between goals. Our approach for measuring ocean health in Fiji highlights pathways for improvements and approaches that may help guide other data-limited countries in assessing ocean health.

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