The Ocean Health Index (OHI) is a scientific framework used to measure how healthy oceans are. It is the first integrated assessment framework that scientifically combines key biological, physical, economic, cultural and social elements of the ocean’s health. The OHI scores reflect how well coastal regions optimize their potential ocean benefits and services in a sustainable way relative to a target, on a scale of 0 to 100.
The Ocean Health Index measures the ability of oceans to sustainably provide 10 products or services (called “goals”) that are important to humans (see image below).
CORDIO East Africa in collaboration with Conservation International (CI) and National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis (NCEAS, USA), implemented preliminary OHI+ assessments for both Kenya and Tanzania in 2018. Both processes were stakeholder-inclusive, and the national partners were National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) and Kenya Marine Fisheries Research Institute (KMFRI) in Kenya and Fisheries Education Training Agency (FETA) and Tanzania Fisheries Research Institute (TAFIRI) in Tanzania. A number of other institutions contributed to the assessment at various stages.
The assessments were conducted using two of the ten OHI goals: Biodiversity through health of coastal and marine habitats and Food Provision through sustainability of wild caught fisheries.Assessments in both countries were conducted at a sub-national scale: 5 coastal counties for Kenya and 7 coastal zones for Tanzania. A detailed technical report and a 2-page brief providing an overview of the main findings and recommendations for Kenya and Tanzania can be found here.
Dissemination meetings took place in both Mombasa and Dar es Salaam, and involved key stakeholders from relevant government authorities, NGOs and community organisations involved in marine conservation and research. Plans to move forward with integrating the framework within key government processes are underway.