The first in situ exploration of deep-sea coral habitat in the central Aleutian Islands in 2002 confirmed expectations that had been based on fishery bycatch and research survey records which indicate corals are widespread, diverse, and abundant. This paper reports observations from analysis of video collected during 2003 and 2004 in a study area that expanded the range of earlier observations to depths beyond current fishing activities (~1000 m) and encompassed the entire central Aleutian Island region. Video of the seafloor was collected at 17 sites with a manned submersible to depths of 365 m and a remotely operated vehicle to 2947 m. Corals, sponges, and other emergent epifauna were widely distributed throughout the study area and present at all depths. Changes in density and species richness were observed at depths of 400–700 m, with abundance and diversity increasing as depth decreased. The distribution of individual fishes, crabs, and octopods was examined relative to emergent epifauna: 63% of the fishes, crabs, and octopods were found in the same sampled video frames as were corals, 69% of them were found in the same frames with sponges, and 55% of them were found in the same frames with “other” emergent epifauna. Most species at depths <1000 m were observed near emergent epifauna, and evidence indicates that epifauna may be essential to some taxa. The extensive closures implemented in 2006 as part of the Aleutian Islands Habitat Conservation Area provide important protection to much coral and sponge habitat that may serve as a source of recruits to nearby disturbed habitats, but observations made during this study indicate that the majority of garden habitat in the study area may currently remain open to bottom trawling.
The following titles are freely-available, or include a link to a preprint or postprint.
The Swedish Agency for Marine and Water Management has been commissioned to prepare Sweden's forthcoming marine spatial planning. We have done this by collating knowledge of the waters around us and by examining how other countries work with marine spatial planning.
In this current status description, SwAM has compiled information regarding the utilisation of marine resources, current conditions, and possible future demands. Our ambition is to convey a cross-sectoral perspective as a starting point for the first phase of national marine spatial planning.
The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 makes provision for the designation of Nature Conservation Marine Protected Areas (hereafter MPAs). In response to this Marine Scotland established the Scottish MPA Project to develop the Scottish MPA network. Here we consider relevant habitat modelling methods and available survey data to help inform identification of MPAs for four charismatic megafaunal species: Risso’s dolphin (Grampus griseus), white-beaked dolphin (Lagenorhynchus albirostris), minke whale (Balaenoptera acutorostrata) and basking shark (Cetorhinus maximus). Our aims were to:
- review the appropriate habitat modelling techniques for the identification of marine protected areas,
- evaluate the quality, quantity and relevance of both the available dependent and explanatory data in evaluating Scottish MPAs (at different spatio-temporal scales),
- recommend appropriate modelling techniques for each species given the available data, and
- consider methods for delineating MPAs given the potential results.
- Preparing sightings data and explanatory covariate data for habitat modelling will take considerable time, even building upon efforts stemming from the Joint Cetacean Protocol (JCP) project. The cost in time and effort to organise these data should be considered along with benefits that might be derived from additional data.
- The following currently available dependent data should be considered:
- Risso’s dolphin: available data collated to inform the JCP project from Scottish territorial waters possibly augmented with JCP data from the Isle of Man. If only the west coast is of interest for this species then data should be restricted to this spatial extent.
- White-beaked dolphin: available data collated to inform the JCP project from Scottish territorial waters initially. If the influence of sandeel presence is negligible (i.e. sandeel presence is not chosen as a predictor), then Scottish shelf waters (i.e. to 200 m depth) should be considered. Sandeel data are not available for the entire shelf.
- Minke whale: available data collated to inform the JCP project from Scottish territorial waters but omitting winter data.
- Basking shark: available data provided for the JCP project (where basking shark were recorded) from Scottish territorial waters, augmented with the Speedie data, possibly additionally augmented with data from the Isle of Man but omitting winter data.
- In all cases a small buffer zone may be applied to the area from which input data are collated, to avoid edge effects in the predictions.
- Additional data from Cetacean Research and Rescue Unit (CRRU), Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) and Hebridean Wildlife and Dolphin Trust (HWDT) may prove useful although some work will be required to integrate these data sets into the existing JCP data resource framework.
- GAMs should be used to create predicted relative density surfaces. It is likely that mixed model GAMs or GEE-GAMs will be used to manage the presumed spatial correlation in the data. It is possible for the data-sparse species (i.e. Risso’s dolphin) that a model cannot be fitted, in which case an empirical approach to the identification of regions of relatively higher density could be undertaken.
- Delineation of MPA proposals could be performed by drawing polygons using predicted relative animal densities for individual species. The resulting areas can then be considered by SNH alongside other contextual information (e.g. on behaviour) to inform their advice on areas to be considered for designation as Nature Conservation MPAs.
ISPRA, on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Environment, carried out the initial assessment of environmental quality status of the 3 Italian subregions (Mediterranean Sea Region) on Descriptor 9. The approach adopted to define the GES started to verify that contaminants in fish and other seafood for human consumption did not exceed levels established by Community legislation (Reg. 1881/2006 and further updates). As the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requires to use health tools to assess the environment, Italy decided to adopt a statistical range of acceptance of thresholds identified by national (D.Lgs. 152/2006 concerning water quality required for mussel farms) and international legislation (Reg. 1881/2006 and further updates), which allowed to use the health results and to employ them for the assessment of environmental quality. Italy proposed that Good Environmental Status (GES) is achieved when concentrations are lower than statistical range of acceptance, estimated on samples of fish and fishery products coming from only national waters. GIS-based approach a to perform different integration levels for station, cell’s grid and years, was used; the elaborations allowed to judge the environmental quality good.
Occupancy models using incidence data collected repeatedly at sites across the range of a population are increasingly employed to infer patterns and processes influencing population distribution and dynamics. While such work is common in terrestrial systems, fewer examples exist in marine applications. This disparity likely exists because the replicate samples required by these models to account for imperfect detection are often impractical to obtain when surveying aquatic organisms, particularly fishes. We employ simultaneous sampling using fish traps and novel underwater camera observations to generate the requisite replicate samples for occupancy models of red snapper, a reef fish species. Since the replicate samples are collected simultaneously by multiple sampling devices, many typical problems encountered when obtaining replicate observations are avoided. Our results suggest that augmenting traditional fish trap sampling with camera observations not only doubled the probability of detecting red snapper in reef habitats off the Southeast coast of the United States, but supplied the necessary observations to infer factors influencing population distribution and abundance while accounting for imperfect detection. We found that detection probabilities tended to be higher for camera traps than traditional fish traps. Furthermore, camera trap detections were influenced by the current direction and turbidity of the water, indicating that collecting data on these variables is important for future monitoring. These models indicate that the distribution and abundance of this species is more heavily influenced by latitude and depth than by micro-scale reef characteristics lending credence to previous characterizations of red snapper as a reef habitat generalist. This study demonstrates the utility of simultaneous sampling devices, including camera traps, in aquatic environments to inform occupancy models and account for imperfect detection when describing factors influencing fish population distribution and dynamics.
Since the industrial revolution, anthropogenic CO2 emissions have caused ocean acidification, which particularly affects calcified organisms. Given the fan-like calcified fronds of the brown alga Padina pavonica, we evaluated the acute (short-term) effects of a sudden pH drop due to a submarine volcanic eruption (October 2011–early March 2012) affecting offshore waters around El Hierro Island (Canary Islands, Spain). We further studied the chronic (long-term) effects of the continuous decrease in pH in the last decades around the Canarian waters. In both the observational and retrospective studies (using herbarium collections of P. pavonica thalli from the overall Canarian Archipelago), the percent of surface calcium carbonate coverage of P. pavonica thalli were contrasted with oceanographic data collected either in situ (volcanic eruption event) or from the ESTOC marine observatory data series (herbarium study). Results showed that this calcified alga is sensitive to acute and chronic environmental pH changes. In both cases, pH changes predicted surface thallus calcification, including a progressive decalcification over the last three decades. This result concurs with previous studies where calcareous organisms decalcify under more acidic conditions. Hence, Padina pavonica can be implemented as a bio-indicator of ocean acidification (at short and long time scales) for monitoring purposes over wide geographic ranges, as this macroalga is affected and thrives (unlike strict calcifiers) under more acidic conditions.
The Deepwater Horizon oil spill impacted Louisiana's coastal estuaries physically, chemically, and biologically. To better understand the ecological consequences of this oil spill on Louisiana estuaries, we compared the abundance and size of two Gulf shrimp species (Farfantepeneus aztecus and Litopeneus setiferus) in heavily affected and relatively unaffected estuaries, before and after the oil spill. Two datasets were used to conduct this study: data on shrimp abundance and size before the spill were available from Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries (LDWF). Data on shrimp abundance and size from after the spill were independently collected by the authors and by LDWF. Using a Before-After-Control-Impact with Paired sampling (BACIP) design with monthly samples of two selected basins, we found brown shrimp to become more abundant and the mean size of white shrimp to become smaller. Using a BACIP with data on successive shrimp year-classes of multiple basins, we found both species to become more abundant in basins that were affected by the spill, while mean shrimp size either not change after the spill, or increased in both affected and unaffected basins. We conclude that following the oil spill abundances of both species increased within affected estuaries, whereas mean size may have been unaffected. We propose two factors that may have caused these results: 1) exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) may have reduced the growth rate of shrimp, resulting in a delayed movement of shrimp to offshore habitats, and an increase of within-estuary shrimp abundance, and 2) fishing closures established immediately after the spill, may have resulted in decreased fishing effort and an increase in shrimp abundance. This study accentuates the complexities in determining ecological effects of oil spills, and the need of studies on the organismal level to reveal cause-and-effect relationships of such events.
Although iron is the fourth most abundant element in the Earth's crust, bioavailable iron limits marine primary production in about one third of the ocean. This lack of iron availability has implications in climate change because the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere by phytoplankton requires iron. Using literature values for global fish biomass estimates, and elemental composition data we estimate that fish biota store between 0.7–7×1011 g of iron. Additionally, the global fish population recycles through excretion between 0.4–1.5×1012 g of iron per year, which is of a similar magnitude as major recognized sources of iron (e.g. dust, sediments, ice sheet melting). In terms of biological impact this iron could be superior to dust inputs due to the distributed deposition and to the greater solubility of fecal pellets compared to inorganic minerals. To estimate a loss term due to anthropogenic activity the total commercial catch for 1950 to 2010 was obtained from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Marine catch data were separated by taxa. High and low end values for elemental composition were obtained for each taxonomic category from the literature and used to calculate iron per mass of total harvest over time. The marine commercial catch is estimated to have removed 1–6×109 g of iron in 1950, the lowest values on record. There is an annual increase to 0.7–3×1010 g in 1996, which declines to 0.6–2×1010 g in 2010. While small compared to the total iron terms in the cycle, these could have compounding effects on distribution and concentration patterns globally over time. These storage, recycling, and export terms of biotic iron are not currently included in ocean iron mass balance calculations. These data suggest that fish and anthropogenic activity should be included in global oceanic iron cycles.
Many marine populations exhibit high variability in the recruitment of young into the population. While environmental cycles and oceanography explain some patterns of replenishment, the role of other growth-related processes in influencing settlement and recruitment is less clear. Examination of a 65-mo. time series of recruitment of a common coral reef fish, Stegastes partitus, to the reefs of the upper Florida Keys revealed that during peak recruitment months, settlement stage larvae arriving during dark lunar phases grew faster as larvae and were larger at settlement compared to those settling during the light lunar phases. However, the strength and direction of early trait-mediated selective mortality also varied by settlement lunar phase such that the early life history traits of 2–4 week old recruit survivors that settled across the lunar cycle converged to more similar values. Similarly, within peak settlement periods, early life history traits of settling larvae and selective mortality of recruits varied by the magnitude of the settlement event: larvae settling in larger events had longer PLDs and consequently were larger at settlement than those settling in smaller pulses. Traits also varied by recruitment habitat: recruits surviving in live coral habitat (vs rubble) or areas with higher densities of adult conspecifics were those that were larger at settlement. Reef habitats, especially those with high densities of territorial conspecifics, are more challenging habitats for young fish to occupy and small settlers (due to lower larval growth and/or shorter PLDs) to these habitats have a lower chance of survival than they do in rubble habitats. Settling reef fish are not all equal and the time and location of settlement influences the likelihood that individuals will survive to contribute to the population.
The drastic decline in the abundance of Caribbean acroporid corals (Acropora cervicornis, A. palmata) has prompted the listing of this genus as threatened as well as the development of a regional propagation and restoration program. Using in situ underwater nurseries, we documented the influence of coral genotype and symbiont identity, colony size, and propagation method on the growth and branching patterns of staghorn corals in Florida and the Dominican Republic.
Individual tracking of> 1700 nursery-grown staghorn fragments and colonies from 37 distinct genotypes (identified using microsatellites) in Florida and the Dominican Republic revealed a significant positive relationship between size and growth, but a decreasing rate of productivity with increasing size. Pruning vigor (enhanced growth after fragmentation) was documented even in colonies that lost 95% of their coral tissue/skeleton, indicating that high productivity can be maintained within nurseries by sequentially fragmenting corals. A significant effect of coral genotype was documented for corals grown in a common-garden setting, with fast-growing genotypes growing up to an order of magnitude faster than slow-growing genotypes. Algal-symbiont identity established using qPCR techniques showed that clade A (likely Symbiodinium A3) was the dominant symbiont type for all coral genotypes, except for one coral genotype in the DR and two in Florida that were dominated by clade C, with A- and C-dominated genotypes having similar growth rates.
The threatened Caribbean staghorn coral is capable of extremely fast growth, with annual productivity rates exceeding 5 cm of new coral produced for every cm of existing coral. This species benefits from high fragment survivorship coupled by the pruning vigor experienced by the parent colonies after fragmentation. These life-history characteristics make A. cervicornis a successful candidate nursery species and provide optimism for the potential role that active propagation can play in the recovery of this keystone species.
The reduction in coral cover on many contemporary tropical reefs suggests a different set of coral community assemblages will dominate future reefs. To evaluate the capacity of reef corals to persist over various time scales, we examined coral community dynamics in contemporary, fossil, and simulated future coral reef ecosystems. Based on studies between 1987 and 2012 at two locations in the Caribbean, and between 1981 and 2013 at five locations in the Indo-Pacific, we show that many coral genera declined in abundance, some showed no change in abundance, and a few coral genera increased in abundance. Whether the abundance of a genus declined, increased, or was conserved, was independent of coral family. An analysis of fossil-reef communities in the Caribbean revealed changes in numerical dominance and relative abundances of coral genera, and demonstrated that neither dominance nor taxon was associated with persistence. As coral family was a poor predictor of performance on contemporary reefs, a trait-based, dynamic, multi-patch model was developed to explore the phenotypic basis of ecological performance in a warmer future. Sensitivity analyses revealed that upon exposure to thermal stress, thermal tolerance, growth rate, and longevity were the most important predictors of coral persistence. Together, our results underscore the high variation in the rates and direction of change in coral abundances on contemporary and fossil reefs. Given this variation, it remains possible that coral reefs will be populated by a subset of the present coral fauna in a future that is warmer than the recent past.
Fishing, farming and ranching provide opportunities for predators to prey on resources concentrated by humans, a behavior termed depredation. In the Gulf of Alaska, observations of sperm whales depredating on fish caught on demersal longline gear dates back to the 1970s, with reported incidents increasing in the mid-1990s. Sperm whale depredation provides an opportunity to study the spread of a novel foraging behavior within a population. Data were collected during National Marine Fisheries Service longline surveys using demersal longline gear in waters off Alaska from 1998 to 2010. We evaluated whether observations of depredation fit predictions of social transmission by fitting the temporal and spatial spread of new observations of depredation to the Wave of Advance model. We found a significant, positive relationship between time and the distance of new observations from the diffusion center (r2 = 0.55, p-value = 0.003). The data provide circumstantial evidence for social transmission of depredation. We discuss how changes in human activities in the region (fishing methods and regulations) have created a situation in which there is spatial-temporal overlap with foraging sperm whales, likely influencing when and how the behavior spread among the population.
The complex multi-gear, multi-species tropical fisheries in developing countries are poorly understood and characterising the landings from these fisheries is often impossible using conventional approaches. A rapid assessment method for characterising landings at fish markets, using an index of abundance and estimated weight within taxonomic groups, is described. This approach was developed for contexts where there are no detailed data collection protocols, and where consistent data collection across a wide range of fisheries types and geographic areas is required, regardless of the size of the site and scale of the landings. This methodology, which was demonstrated at seven fish landing sites/fish markets in southern Indonesia between July 2008 and January 2011, provides a rapid assessment of the abundance and diversity in the wild catch over a wide variety of taxonomic groups. The approach has wider application for species-rich fisheries in developing countries where there is an urgent need for better data collection protocols, monitoring future changes in market demographics, and evaluating health of fisheries.
Marine spatial planning (MSP) is often considered as a pragmatic approach to implement an ecosystem based management in order to manage marine space in a sustainable way. This requires the involvement of multiple actors and stakeholders at various governmental and societal levels. Several factors affect how well the integrated management of marine waters will be achieved, such as different governance settings (division of power between central and local governments), economic activities (and related priorities), external drivers, spatial scales, incentives and objectives, varying approaches to legislation and political will. We compared MSP in Belgium, Norway and the US to illustrate how the integration of stakeholders and governmental levels differs among these countries along the factors mentioned above. Horizontal integration (between sectors) is successful in all three countries, achieved through the use of neutral ‘round-table’ meeting places for all actors. Vertical integration between government levels varies, with Belgium and Norway having achieved full integration while the US lacks integration of the legislature due to sharp disagreements among stakeholders and unsuccessful partisan leadership. Success factors include political will and leadership, process transparency and stakeholder participation, and should be considered in all MSP development processes.
The paper discusses the combined effects of ocean acidification, eutrophication and climate change on the Baltic Sea and the implications for current management strategies. The scientific basis is built on results gathered in the BONUS+ projects Baltic-C and ECOSUPPORT. Model results indicate that the Baltic Sea is likely to be warmer, more hypoxic and more acidic in the future. At present management strategies are not taking into account temporal trends and potential ecosystem change due to warming and/or acidification, and therefore fulfilling the obligations specified within the Marine Strategy Framework Directive, OSPAR and HELCOM conventions and national environmental objectives may become significantly more difficult. The paper aims to provide a basis for a discussion on the effectiveness of current policy instruments and possible strategies for setting practical environmental objectives in a changing climate and with multiple stressors.
Florida represents a major component of the nation’s seafood industry. The commercial fishing industry in Florida lands approximately 100 million pounds of wild-caught finfish and shellfish annually. Over one hundred species, including shrimp, grouper, spiny lobster, stone crab, snapper, and others, are harvested in Florida and comprise an extremely diverse mix of high-quality products that are eventually sold into local, regional, and national markets. While effective management has kept the traditional finfish and shellfish species in the markets, an even more diverse group of seafood products are imported into Florida from other states and foreign sources.
During 2012, the quantity of imported seafood into the US market exceeded domestic landings by 42%. With Florida being a leading state for importing and processing seafood, the contribution of imports into local markets cannot be understated. The seafood industry in Florida includes a complex network of harvesting, importation, processing, and sales which fuels a very large economic engine. Florida-harvested seafood annually generates $171 million in economic impacts and creates over 7,400 jobs, while imported seafood generates $2.4 billion in economic impacts and creates 65,000 jobs. The economic importance of the state’s industry aside, locally-harvested and imported seafood products provide Florida’s seafood consumers with an unparalleled assortment of seafood products to savor and enjoy.
As the demand for seafood continues to grow in Florida, driven by a growing population, a constantly changing ethnicity mix, and evolving economic conditions, the need for a high-quality, diverse, sustainable, and affordable seafood supply is increasingly important. However, many Floridians are becoming more concerned about the origin, quality, sustainability, safety, affordability, and convenience of the seafood products they purchase. Local food movements are compelling consumers to purchase more locally sourced products. The growing presence of “green” products and eco-labeling is creating an awareness of the sustainability of seafood. Convenience packaging is realizing a growing market share as consumers continue to seek confidence in preparing seafood at home. In addition, the media exposure of contaminants in food products and the increasing incidence of economic fraud, such as mislabeling, contribute to a complex and confusing marketplace. Consumer confusion and uncertainty exists, creating a demonstrable need for educational programs that help can help buyers make informed decisions about the seafood products they should purchase for their households.
Thus, a survey of Florida seafood consumer preferences, perceptions and concerns was needed to assess the regional educational needs of seafood consumers. A survey was needed to address the myriad issues concerning seafood quality, safety, product origin, mislabeling, sustainability and traceability. The survey also addressed regional needs within the state (i.e., proximity to the coast, north/south/central with the peninsula, etc.), seasonality issues, consumer demographics, awareness of health benefits associated with seafood, preparation methods, and concerns associated with recent environmental events. The findings of the survey augment the information that exists from previous seafood perception surveys for Florida and the other states within the Gulf region. The survey findings are a key source of information to accurately assess the educational needs of the future educational programs and help identify the topics of greatest concern to various clientele groups.
Fisheries are an important source of food, income and cultural identity for Caribbean communities. While reef fisheries in the Caribbean are frequently over-exploited, offshore pelagic resources also targeted by the US sport-fishing industry may generate alternative economic benefits and divert pressure from reefs. Key to the efficient harvesting of thinly-distributed pelagic fish is the use of fish aggregation devices (FADs). Traditionally, FADs were deployed by individuals or close-knit groups of fishers. Recently, governments have deployed public FADs accessible to all. There is concern that public FADs are exploited less efficiently and produce conflicts related to crowding and misuse.
In partnership with Counterpart International, the Caribbean Regional Fisheries Mechanism and the Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines Fisheries Divisions, Florida Sea Grant collected information from fishermen on their use of FADs that were deployed privately, by small groups or by the government. This allowed for a determination of governance arrangements that were most profitable and provided input to stakeholder meetings with FAD fishers to identify best practices for sustainably using and co-managing FADs.
The fishing trip analysis shows that catch and profitability are higher when FADs are managed privately or by small groups and access to the aggregated fisheries resources is somewhat restricted. An engagement strategy that introduced an activity planner as a best practice to increase information sharing helped strengthen the rapport between government and fisheries stakeholders. Study results are helping shape regional implementation of policy, which favors FADs co-managed by fishers and government, but can benefit from positive aspects of FADs managed privately or by small groups.
A movement ecology framework is applied to enhance our understanding of the causes, mechanisms and consequences of movement in seagrasses: marine, clonal, flowering plants. Four life-history stages of seagrasses can move: pollen, sexual propagules, vegetative fragments and the spread of individuals through clonal growth. Movement occurs on the water surface, in the water column, on or in the sediment, via animal vectors and through spreading clones. A capacity for long-distance dispersal and demographic connectivity over multiple timeframes is the novel feature of the movement ecology of seagrasses with significant evolutionary and ecological consequences. The space–time movement footprint of different life-history stages varies. For example, the distance moved by reproductive propagules and vegetative expansion via clonal growth is similar, but the timescales range exponentially, from hours to months or centuries to millennia, respectively. Consequently, environmental factors and key traits that interact to influence movement also operate on vastly different spatial and temporal scales. Six key future research areas have been identified.
he concept of ecosystem goods and services (ES) has become increasingly important in conservation management. This report provides an overview of how ES theory, classification, valuation methods and spatial modelling tools can be used to manage and protect New Zealand’s existing marine parks, management areas, sanctuaries and the protected area network. Specifically, it summarises the ES of coastal and marine areas, including marine protected areas (MPAs), and provides an estimate of their values, based on a benefit-transfer of values from the literature. The rapid ecosystem services assessment (RESA) method was applied to seven New Zealand marine areas, including the Exclusive Economic Zone (and Territorial Sea), a marine mammal sanctuary and five marine reserves. These RESAs were based on GIS data, which generated a solid starting point for the valuations and highlighted the benefit of having clear definitions of biomes. Collectively, the case-study areas generated an average ES value of NZ$403B per year for 2010, which is about 2.07 times gross domestic product (GDP) for that same year (NZ$194B) and equates to a per capita ES value of NZ$92,245 per year. Qualitative analysis of the supply, demand and value of ES suggests that a change in the legal status of a marine or coastal area will only bring benefits if the value is perceived—which is often not the case for marine ecosystems. Therefore, this report concludes with an overview of the tools that are being developed for ES valuation, ranging from those that can be applied when the benefits are evident to those that are more suitable for when they are not.
Management of marine ecosystems increasingly demands comprehensive and quantitative assessments of ocean health, but lacks a tool to do so. We applied the recently developed Ocean Health Index to assess ocean health in the relatively data-rich US west coast region. The overall region scored 71 out of 100, with sub-regions scoring from 65 (Washington) to 74 (Oregon). Highest scoring goals included tourism and recreation (99) and clean waters (87), while the lowest scoring goals were sense of place (48) and artisanal fishing opportunities (57). Surprisingly, even in this well-studied area data limitations precluded robust assessments of past trends in overall ocean health. Nonetheless, retrospective calculation of current status showed that many goals have declined, by up to 20%. In contrast, near-term future scores were on average 6% greater than current status across all goals and sub-regions. Application of hypothetical but realistic management scenarios illustrate how the Index can be used to predict and understand the tradeoffs among goals and consequences for overall ocean health. We illustrate and discuss how this index can be used to vet underlying assumptions and decisions with local stakeholders and decision-makers so that scores reflect regional knowledge, priorities and values. We also highlight the importance of ongoing and future monitoring that will provide robust data relevant to ocean health assessment.