Sierra Magazine: Explore, enjoy and protect the planet.
Measuring Sea Sickness - Sierra Daily
Find us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Contact Us

March April 2014

Read the latest issue of Sierra

« Better Living Through Bug-Eating | Main | U.S. Becomes a Climate Champ? »

Sierra Daily

Aug 15, 2012

Measuring Sea Sickness

Sierra leone lcoccia iStock_000004686524XSmallHow well do coastal countries protect their seas? That was the question explored by a team of researchers whose results were published today in the journal Nature. Looking at ten goals for “a healthy coupled human-ocean system,” the Ocean Health Index team concludes that the average score was 60 out of 100, with the lowest score (36) going to West Africa’s Sierra Leone and the highest (86) going to Jarvis island, halfway between Hawaii and the Cook Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

Jarvis benefits from being uninhabited and isolated, so it’s a bit of a ringer. Not surprisingly, developed nations fared better than developing ones in criteria that included the amount of food provided from the ocean, coastal and water protection, tourism, and contribution to climate change. The U.S. scored 63, which put it in 29th place.

Ten of West Africa’s 11 ocean areas were judged the least healthy in the world. Sierra Leone, writes the Guardian, "which has suffered a decade of civil war, whose seas are ravaged by foreign industrial fishing fleets, and which has little protection of its coastline or waters and barely any tourism, scores the least, with 36 points out of 100 – just below Liberia, Ivory Coast and DR Congo.”

The researchers hope the Ocean Health Index “provides a powerful tool to raise public awareness, direct resource management, improve policy and prioritize scientific research.”

Image of fishing boat in Sierra Leone by iStock/lcoccia

HS_ReedMcManusReed McManus is a senior editor at Sierra. He has worked on the magazine since Ronald Reagan’s second term. For inspiration, he turns to cartoonist R. Crumb’s Mr. Natural, who famously noted: “Twas ever thus.”

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top