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An Ocean Health Index+ for South West England

The Ocean Health Index (OHI)

The OHI is a tool to measure the benefits and services that the ocean provides for people now and into the future. Assessments are developed with the support of local stakeholders to better understand how to sustainably balance current and future ocean use.

The Project

The application of OHI to the South West (known as OHI+) aims to provide a regional baseline for marine health. The project coincides with development of the Marine Management Organisation’s South West Marine Plan and as such we assess the relevance that a regional OHI+ assessment may have to regional planning strategy. The inclusion of multiple diverse data sets across key goals enables engagement with a broad range of marine stakeholder groups. All data and methods are open source, ensuring the process is transparent and repeatable.

OHI+ South West Scores

We tailored the OHI+ assessment framework to represent the cultural, social, and ecological characteristics and priorities of South West England using the best available information and knowledge. The project considers the maritime region to 12 nautical miles offshore. This maritime area encompasses the Western Approaches, English Channel, and Celtic Sea, which provide fishing grounds and recreational opportunities, and support a range of temperate habitats and biodiversity. Six geographical regions were assessed to help provide a fine scale understanding of the health of coastal ecosystems and the human activities that depend on them. You can access the project's key findings in our Summary Report and Regional Report. Full results, accompanying materials, and comprehensive technical methods highlighting key considerations and data gaps to improve future marine monitoring in the South West are available in the project Technical Report.

The final South West England OHI+ score provides an overview of the extent to which coastal seas deliver sustainable social, economic, and ecological benefits to communities in the South West. The South West England central score (65) for 2018 is calculated as an equally weighted average of the surrounding 8 goals (including 10 sub-goals) (blue segments). Maximum score in any goal is 100. Petal length and colour are used to help communicate the OHI scores. Shorter, lighter coloured petals indicate low goal scores, whilst longer, darker petals reflect higher scores to a maximum of 100. 


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