Canada's oceans among world's healthiest
A view of the Atlantic Ocean from St John's, N.L. (QMI Agency/KATERINE-LUNE ROLLET)
The world's oceans are reasonably healthy, and Canada's waters are among the best, according to a study by Canadian and international scientists.
The Ocean Health Index examined every coastal nation in the world and rated them on 10 "public goals" based on the benefits a healthy ocean provides to people.
In addition to goals like biodiversity, clean waters and food provision, researchers, including a fisheries team from the University of British Columbia, measured conditions such as carbon storage, tourism and recreation, and coastal livelihoods and economies.
Canada, with a score of 70 out of 100, came in ninth out of 171 countries and territories. Jarvis Island, a tiny, uninhabited South Pacific outpost run by the U.S., got the highest score, with 86.
Sierra Leone landed at the very bottom, at 36.
"The Ocean Health Index offers an excellent framework to assess if things are getting better or worse in response to our actions," said study co-author Prof. Daniel Pauly, of UBC, in a news release.
Canada is faring well, he added, but can do more.
"(Canada) has so far set aside only one percent of its waters as marine protected areas. We would like to see progress in this area and others."
The study appeared Wednesday in the journal Nature.