More Bad news for the Philippines’ marine ecosystem – one of most deteriorated – study

Out of 171 territories surveyed by the Ocean Health Index, the Philippines ranked 105th among the world’s most deteriorated marine ecosystem, Sen. Loren Legarda said yesterday.

Legarda, who heads the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said the Ocean Health Index “is a new kind of yardstick” that measures how the world’s oceans can continue to deliver the needs of a growing population.

“The OHI is a new kind of yardstick because it measures how well our oceans can continue to deliver the needs of our growing population. It recognizes people as a legitimate component of ocean health,” Legarda said.

“And based on the 2012 results, it is clear that the health and socio-economic value of our oceans will continue to deteriorate if we do not innovate our strategies towards their conservation,” she said.

The senator said the OHI focuses not only how pristine the ocean is but how it can sustainably deliver benefits for the people within its territory.

OHI uses 50 distinct indicators such as the sustainability of methods of seafood harvesting and coastal protection. It is an initiative led by Conservation International, launched with the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Oceans’ endorsement.

According to the Ocean Health Index (http://www.oceanhealthindex.org/Countries/Philippines/), the Philippine got a score of 51, and ranked 105th globally. The higher the score, the more it indicates a successful and sustainable achievement of goals.

Scores reveal what is working and what needs attention, information that can guide decision that can improve conditions for ocean life and wellbeing of people everywhere.

Legarda noted that the Philippines “performed very poorly in the amount of seafood harvested for human consumption and the sustainability of methods to that end, natural marine products, and sense of place or protection of indigenous species and their habitats.”

“We should orient our policies accordingly, and make sure that we continue improving in the areas we are doing well in,” she stressed.

But to compensate, the Philippines scored high in indicators such as access for local fishing communities, preservation of habitats that absorb carbon, coastal protection, coastal livelihoods and economies, clean waters, and marine biodiversity.

The OHI evaluates the health of the oceans adjacent to 171 countries and territories. By HANNAH L. TORREGOZA.

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