The health of Samoa’s oceans is being highlighted this week by Conservation International through a national workshop by the Ocean Health Index (O.H.I) programme in partnership with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and in close collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries.
Senior Manager of O.H.I Global, Erich Pacheco, is in Samoa to deliver the training.
“We know being an island state that your wellbeing as a community and country is closely linked to the well-being of the ocean, your economy is dependent on oceans therefore it would be useful to gauge the economic value of Samoas ocean,” said Pacheco.
O.H.I is a tool for the ongoing assessment of ocean health.
By providing a means to advance comprehensive ocean policy and compare future progress, the Index can inform decisions about how to use or protect marine ecosystems.
“The strength of the Index relies in the fact it does not only measure the ecological aspects of the Ocean, but also includes economical and sociocultural elements. Including all these factors in the same framework allows decision makers to evaluate what will be the consequences of a given action before starting it, and to allocate public resources in the most cost-effective ways.”
More than two-thirds of the annual value of oceans relies on healthy conditions to maintain its current output. However, habitat destruction, overfishing, pollution, and climate change are endangering this economic engine and the security and livelihoods it supports. Marine resources are on a rapid decline and our oceans are changing faster than we have ever seen before.
Some 90 per cent of global fish stocks are already over-exploited or fully exploited according to the Reviving the Ocean Economy Report, and marine species declined by 39 per cent between 1970 and 2010, the report said.Coral reefs that provide food, jobs and storm protection to several hundred million people could disappear completely by 2050 because of climate change.
The Oceans Capacity Building Workshop this week will focus on CIs support through O.H.I to coordinating Samoa’s work on oceans to better monitor progress on various goals relating to oceans.
“Marine policy is increasingly calling for maintaining or restoring healthy oceans while human activities continue to intensify. Thus, successful prioritization and management of competing objectives requires a comprehensive assessment of the current state of the ocean,” said Pacheco.
The Workshop falls under C.I. Samoa’s work on Sustainable Development Goals through S.D.G14.
The S.D.Gs aim to sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems from pollution, as well as address the impacts of ocean acidification. Enhancing conservation and the sustainable use of ocean-based resources through international law will also help mitigate some of the challenges facing our oceans.