NZ knocked back on ocean health index
New Zealand's seafood harvesting practices have scored poorly in a major new effort to assess the health of the oceans, knocking back this country's overall ranking in an international league table.
Overall, New Zealand is in 22nd-equal position on the Ocean Health Index with a score of 64 out of 100, compared to a global average of 60.
The index evaluates the health of the oceans next to 171 countries and territories, from the shoreline to the edge of the exclusive economic zone.
Topping the index with 86 points is the small and uninhabited Jarvis Island, situated near the equator, while the first major country is Germany in fourth-equal place with a score of 73.
A key drag on New Zealand's performance is its score in the food provision goal, receiving just 17 points out of 100, although even with that score New Zealand still managed a ranking of 48th-equal for the category.
Food provision measures the amount of seafood harvested for human consumption and how sustainable the harvest is. The global score for the goal is 24.
New Zealand's best result is for the artisanal fishing opportunities goal where it is in 10th-equal spot with a score of 96. The category measures the opportunity for fishing households to make short fishing trips mainly for local consumption.
New Zealand ranks 49th for sustainable harvesting of natural products, 50th for the state of carbon storing coastal habitats, 34th-equal for the condition of habitats that protect coastlines, 99th-equal for providing livelihoods and stable economies for coastal communities, 39th-equal for protecting iconic species and special coastal and marine places, 48th-equal for minimising pollution, 69th-equal for biodiversity, and 41st-equal for a tourism and recreational goal. In all those categories, other than tourism, New Zealand's actual score is far higher than the score it received for food provision.
The Ocean Health Index was prepared by marine scientists from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Conservation International, COMPASS, the New England Aquarium, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and several other universities. The National Geographic Society partially financed the index.
The researchers evaluated ecological, social, economic, and political factors for each coastal country, then put the data through a computer model to get a score for each.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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