Franke, A., Blenckner, T., Duarte, C. M., Ott, K., Fleming, L. E., Antia, A., Reusch, T. B. H., Bertram, C., Hein, J., Kronfeld-Goharani, U., Dierking, J., Kuhn, A., Sato, C., van Doorn, E., Wall, M., Schartau, M., Karez, R., Crowder, L., Keller, D., … Prigge, E. (2020). Operationalizing Ocean Health: Toward Integrated Research on Ocean Health and Recovery to Achieve Ocean Sustainability. One Earth, 2(6), 557–565. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.oneear.2020.05.013
Protecting the ocean has become a major goal of international policy as human activities increasingly endanger the integrity of the ocean ecosystem, often summarized as “ocean health.” By and large, efforts to protect the ocean have failed because, among other things, (1) the underlying socio-ecological pathways have not been properly considered, and (2) the concept of ocean health has been ill defined. Collectively, this paper prevents an adequate societal response as to how ocean ecosystems and their vital functions for human societies can be protected and restored. The authors reviewed the confusion surrounding the term “ocean health” and suggested an operational ocean-health framework in line with the concept of strong sustainability. Given the accelerating degeneration of marine ecosystems, the restoration of regional ocean health will be of increasing importance. The advocated transdisciplinary and multi-actor framework presented in this study, can help to advance the implementation of more active measures to restore ocean health and safeguard human health and well-being.