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Viewings: 3607How well are the oceans? Better or worse? And how do we react? To answer these questions is not easy, because people value different things: some like sushi, others are concerned about the protection of the bluefin tuna. How to negotiate?
Coral reef in the Indonesian archipelago Raja Ampat (photo Sterling Zumbrunn / Conservation International).
Benjamin Halpern from the University of California in Santa Barbara (USA) and his colleagues proposed a comprehensive index of the health of the ocean, which is a sort of compromise between different attitude to the World ocean.
Now the state of the ocean can be expressed by a single number at stoballnoy scale. Today it is 60. Composed ratings and for individual countries, so that everyone can choose what to do.
"It's really useful and important tool for the beginning of the discussion," says oceanographer Katherine Richardson of the University of Copenhagen (Denmark), who did not participate in the study. According to her, this is a "huge step forward". In contrast to previous estimates, which have tended to focus on the nature, a new index takes into account human needs.
The index was the result of joint efforts. One group of scientists from the National center for ecological analysis and synthesis, University of California at Santa Barbara (USA) - were responsible for human interaction with the ocean and philanthropist William "Bo" Wrigley has funded a number of organizations (Conservation International, New England Aquarium, and others), directly developing the method of calculating the rating. Just on a project that required $5.2 million, worked over forty experts.
To start two groups came up with a list of ten things that people usually appreciate in the ocean. Many of them are obvious: it's food, and biodiversity, and clean water. Other more typical of developing countries - like support artisanal fisheries, which account for about half of the catch in the world and on which depends the life of the huge number of poor people.
Measurement of what I had done this or that country to achieve these ten goals, has become a difficult task. Sometimes the experts were faced with a lack of data (although the open sea not even taken into account), and therefore had to come up with ingenious scheme. For example, to measure the importance of tourism and recreation, the authors of the rating was based on international flights. Of course, this led to an underestimation of domestic tourism, but only the data about international travel is for all countries.
In other cases it was necessary to quantify such metaphysical things as, say, the beauty of the landscape. Scientists decided to focus on the following indicators: degree of preservation of the "cult" of species such as penguins and polar bears, and the share of the coastal zone, which is under protection.
Then the time came to decide how to allocate points. For example, the largest number of points in the fishing industry can be obtained, following the so-called maximum sustainable catch. In other cases, played the role of the area untouched by man. In General, according to experts, the achievement of the highest points may seem unreal, but in fact it is possible, if to treat natural resources wisely. The main thing here is to outline the purpose and make it clear how you're far from it.
To simplify the problem points in each of the ten groups have equal weight, although in reality some things for man and the ocean is more important than others.
The lowest ranking ended in Sierra Leone (36), the highest - Jarvis (86), which is expected, since this island in the South Pacific ocean, owned by the US, uninhabited. Developed countries received higher scores because they have more resources to protect nature, can afford the import of seafood and often have long ceased to harm marine ecosystems. Developing States, on the contrary, I like to break the current international standards.
Now scientists are preparing software tool that will allow any specialist independently calculate the ratings on the basis of the available data.
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