A Regional-Scale Ocean Health Index for Brazil

<div><p>Brazil has one of the largest and fastest growing economies and one of the largest coastlines in the world, making human use and enjoyment of coastal and marine resources of fundamental importance to the country. Integrated assessments of ocean health are needed to understand the condition of a range of benefits that humans derive from marine systems and to evaluate where attention should be focused to improve the health of these systems. Here we describe the first such assessment for Brazil at both national and state levels. We applied the Ocean Health Index framework, which evaluates ten public goals for healthy oceans. Despite refinements of input data and model formulations, the national score of 60 (out of 100) was highly congruent with the previous global assessment for Brazil of 62. Variability in scores among coastal states was most striking for goals related to mariculture, protected areas, tourism, and clean waters. Extractive goals, including Food Provision, received low scores relative to habitat-related goals, such as Biodiversity. This study demonstrates the applicability of the Ocean Health Index at a regional scale, and its usefulness in highlighting existing data and knowledge gaps and identifying key policy and management recommendations. To improve Brazil's ocean health, this study suggests that future actions should focus on: enhancing fisheries management, expanding marine protected areas, and monitoring coastal habitats.</p></div>