How healthy are our oceans?

Determining ocean health requires an approach that integrates social, economic, and environmental information. The Ocean Health Index (OHI) does this by measuring progress towards widely held goals that represent key benefits and services provided by marine ecosystems. By analyzing these goals together we obtain a comprehensive picture of the state of the ecosystem.

Assessing Ocean Health in the Main Hawaiian Islands

We have built a scientifically robust index of ocean health for Hawai‘i that is supported by local stakeholders and integrated into ongoing policy initiatives to support sustainable ocean management. We used the OHI framework to facilitate repeatable assessments of the index goals overtime allowing for progress toward a common vision for a healthy ocean and sustainable ocean management.

The process of developing and adapting the OHI for Hawai‘i was through working groups, support of local experts, stakeholder surveys, workshops and community meetings and integration with ongoing initiatives.

Scale of Assessment

The Hawai‘i OHI assessment will use the scientifically robust framework of the Ocean Health Index at the scale of the Main Hawaiian Islands.

The Hawai‘i Statewide assessment focuses on the Main Hawaiian Islands and with subregions at the county level.

To produce the spatial boundaries of these reporting units we use the Hawai‘i USA Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ). A nearshore spatial scale is computed as the offshore 3nm boundary for Hawai‘i islands. The OHI focus is on the entire EEZ, however, some goals are assessed on the nearshore (3 nm scale).

The Ocean Health Index project

The Ocean Health Index is a way to combine social, economic, and environmental data to measure progress towards a suite of benefits people expect healthy oceans to provide – including seafood, protection from storms, and employment. Every year since 2012, the Ocean Health Index team has tracked change in global ocean health for 220 coastal nations and territories. The team has also helped foster a growing network of independent groups around the world that are using our science to measure how healthy their own oceans are.

Learn more and explore ongoing assessments at Additionally, read our publications about best practices for assessing ocean health and how OHI assessments are transparent and repeatable. A full list of publications is available here.