Just a few weeks ago, I looked out the window of an airplane as I took off over the Atlantic Ocean from Boston, turned west, crossed the United States, and landed in Vancouver on the edge of the Pacific Ocean. Seeing both oceans from the air, I was struck again by how vast the oceans seem, how small the fishing boats appear, and how tiny the man-made structures are that dot the coast. While occasionally we may think about how we as individuals make a daily impact on the oceans, we often don’t think about all the important benefits the oceans provide to each of us. As just one person, I can minimize my impact on the oceans by thinking proactively about the seafood I choose to feed my family, what I do with my trash (or recycling) and how much energy I use. All of these actions add up.
Yet, if we are going to really protect our oceans and productively manage our oceans’ resources, we need better tools for our business leaders and policy makers to make informed decisions. The OHI is one such tool – one that will allow us to build ocean health awareness and guide priorities among these decision-makers. By articulating the threats to our oceans and the interrelatedness of the goals for a healthy ecosystem, we can make more informed decisions which will help us create a more sustainable relationship with our oceans.
For more information, see www.oceanhealthindex.org.
Heather Tausig has been with the New England Aquarium for over 15 years and as the Associate Vice President of Conservation, she is responsible for all programs and staff within the Conservation Department. She is the senior director of the New England Aquarium’s sustainable seafood programs, manages the Sustainable Seafood Advisory Services, and leads the coordination with Conservation International and National Geographic on the Ocean Health Index. Heather serves on the Advisory Board for EcoFish and the University of New Hampshire’s Large Pelagics Research Center, as well as the Food Marketing Institute's Sustainable Seafood Working Group's Advisory Council. Heather received her master’s degree in International Relations and Energy and Environmental Studies from Boston University.