The Blog Aquatic » Philippe Cousteau http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 Divers and Ocean Advocates Across the Country Speak Out for NEO, NOP http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/11/27/divers-and-ocean-advocates-across-the-country-speak-out-for-neo-nop/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/11/27/divers-and-ocean-advocates-across-the-country-speak-out-for-neo-nop/#comments Wed, 27 Nov 2013 14:57:09 +0000 Emily Woglom http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=7011

Photo credit: Heal The Bay flickr page

Recently, I told you about the opportunity that Congress now has to create a National Endowment for the Oceans (NEO) and safeguard the existing National Ocean Policy (NOP). The heat is on, as the members of Congress that will decide the fate of these provisions in the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) convened last week. Since then, the chorus of voices calling for Congress to take these vital steps to protect our ocean has grown exponentially.

More than 74 diving groups, dive shops and individual divers – including prominent figures such as Sylvia Earle and Ocean Conservancy Board Member Philippe Cousteau – sent a letter to the WRDA conferees today. Here’s an excerpt:

“As divers, we see firsthand the incredible beauty and, too often, the increasing burden our oceans face.… The WRDA conference will consider two provisions that significantly impact our nation’s oceans and coasts and the economies that rely on them. We support the Senate-passed National Endowment for the Oceans, which would help improve ocean health and maximize the economic benefits these resources provide our nation. We oppose the House-passed Flores rider, which would place damaging restrictions on the use of common-sense ocean management tools like ocean planning and ecosystem-based management found in our National Ocean Policy. To maximize the benefits of a healthy ocean and its vibrant economy, we urge you to include the NEO provision and strike the Flores rider from WRDA.”


These divers share a common belief that everyone benefits from a healthy and productive ocean. Few people witness the threats that our ocean faces more intimately than divers do every time they go below the surface. From ocean acidification’s effect on corals and shellfish to the staggering scope of the marine debris problem to the shifting of marine life due to rising ocean temperatures, divers see these impacts firsthand. They know that we badly need the smart ocean-use planning that the NOP facilitates and the funding for critical ocean research and restoration that the NEO would provide.

The diving community’s letter joins another letter sent to the WRDA conferees last week from Ocean Conservancy and more than 200 organizations and individuals from around the nation stressing the need for the conference committee to get this bill right.

We’ll continue to monitor the progress of WRDA as the conference committee meets in the coming days and weeks, but it’ll take a concerted effort from ocean advocates across the country to ensure that Congress establishes NEO and stands strong in supporting the NOP. You can add your voice to the hundreds who have already weighed in here.

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Harbor Heroes: Little Oysters in the Big Apple http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/08/01/harbor-heroes-little-oysters-in-the-big-apple/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/08/01/harbor-heroes-little-oysters-in-the-big-apple/#comments Thu, 01 Aug 2013 17:45:35 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=6435

This post was written by Ocean Conservancy intern Jaclyn Yeary.

After Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast last October, I read an op-ed by Paul Greenberg in the New York Times titled “An Oyster in the Storm” that inspired me. In his piece, he described how oysters can be used to protect the shorelines of our coastal cities while improving the water quality of America’s largest metropolis. The solution to two major issues seemed suddenly so obvious. I needed to learn more.

So I partnered with a friend to produce a short documentary titled “Harbor Heroes” about the importance of oysters to New York City. We interviewed an amazing group of individuals including students from the aquaculture program at the New York Harbor School, Philippe Cousteau and Paul Greenberg himself.

How do oysters help water quality?

The idea behind restoring New York’s oysters is this: oysters grow on top of one another, forming nurseries for baby fish and creating a base structure for reefs. Reefs act as natural surge protectors and reduce the size of waves during big storms. Like other mollusks, oysters are filter-feeders, which means they clean the water column as they eat. If the water quality improves enough, sea grass could grow and create a root network that would prevent the erosion of the shoreline.

The history of the New York City half shell

One of my favorite aspects of the solution presented by Greenberg is that oysters are an important part of New York’s history. Mark Kurlansky’s book, “The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell,” outlines the history of New York City through the growth of the oyster industry.

At one time, half the world’s oysters were found in New York. Liberty Island and Ellis Island were once called “Little” and “Big Oyster Island,” respectively. But as the city grew, more and more people began harvesting them. And with the Industrial Revolution, more and more chemicals were being dumped into the harbor. People began getting sick from eating contaminated shellfish, so they stopped growing oysters. The few that remained died out until the population completely disappeared.

Since the introduction of the Clean Water Act in 1972, the waters surrounding New York have improved. Today, they are clean enough to support oysters again, though it will be a while before anyone actually wants to eat them. Various groups, including the New York/New Jersey Baykeeper and the New York Harbor School have begun planting oysters in the Hudson.

Where are we today?

The plan isn’t perfect, and it isn’t without challenges. Some officials worry poachers will eat oysters from the contaminated water and cause a public health outbreak. Additionally, ocean acidification is an ever-growing threat to shellfish and corals. As the ocean absorbs more carbon, they become more acidic. This is problematic for oysters because the changing chemistry of the ocean means shell-building animals have trouble building the shells necessary for their survival.

But some states are taking action. For instance, Washington has turned oyster beds around the state into ocean acidification monitoring stations. Scientists can collect data on the water’s pH levels around the state and record their effects on the shellfish industry.

In New York City, if this multi-faceted solution is implemented as part of a larger plan to protect and restore New York’s waters, oysters have the potential to positively impact a variety of sectors including the environment, education and local economy.

 

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Philippe Cousteau Explains the Truth Behind Shark Attacks http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/05/24/philippe-cousteau-explains-the-truth-behind-shark-attacks/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/05/24/philippe-cousteau-explains-the-truth-behind-shark-attacks/#comments Fri, 24 May 2013 18:42:13 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=5863

Beach season begins this weekend and invariably this time of year brings with it flashy stories of shark attacks. All too often we hear about encounters with sharks in ways that make them sound far more common than they are, and make them sound like devious, intentional actions taken against people by sharks.   In this video for CNN, Ocean Conservancy Board Member Philippe Cousteau separates the myths from facts and explains what’s really happening when sharks and people meet.

 

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Philippe Cousteau on CNN: Ocean is Source of Hope and Solutions http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/03/25/philippe-cousteau-on-cnn-ocean-is-source-of-hope-and-solutions/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2013/03/25/philippe-cousteau-on-cnn-ocean-is-source-of-hope-and-solutions/#comments Mon, 25 Mar 2013 17:26:25 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=5284  

Credit: Ocean Conservancy

Ocean Conservancy’s Dennis Takahashi-Kelso and Board Member Philippe Cousteau tour Bay Jimmy, LA. and the surrounding marsh affected by the BP Deepwater Horizon oil disaster.

This post originally appeared on CNN.com from Ocean Conservancy Board Member Philippe Cousteau. Explorer, social entrepreneur and environmental advocate, Philippe Cousteau is a special correspondent for CNN International. He is also the co-founder and president of the leading environmental education nonprofit EarthEcho International.

My grandfather Jacques Cousteau and my father Philippe dedicated their lives to revealing the ocean’s wonders and helping us understand our connection to this vast expanse of water. Their work inspired generations and filled people with awe.

Times have changed and so have circumstances and perceptions about the ocean. In recent years, the focus has been on the very serious challenges the ocean faces and the impact these challenges are already having on our daily lives.

The effects of climate change, pollution and overfishing should be making headlines because the ocean and all of us — and I literally mean all humankind — who depend on its resources are facing the very real prospect of the catastrophic collapse of ocean ecosystems if we continue on our current course.

Despite the challenges our ocean faces, I believe it’s time to recapture the sense of wonder and inspiration my grandfather and father felt when they gazed on its surface. In fact, the ocean can and should be a source of hope and solutions for a brighter future.

Before you accuse of me of eschewing cold hard reality for a world view through rose-colored glasses, hear me out. What I’m proposing is that we step back and look at the potential a healthy ocean has to provide us with a prosperous and sustainable future.

Just take a moment to think about what the ocean does for us on a daily basis: it produces half of the world’s oxygen; it provides more than one billion people with their primary source of protein; its natural eco-systems like coral reefs, mangroves and wetlands provide protection against coastal erosion and natural disasters such as tsunamis; it regulates our climate; and a healthy ocean fuels sustainable businesses and a strong economy in industries such as seafood, tourism, pharmaceuticals and shipping.

That’s really only the beginning. Check out Ocean Conservancy’s “Why the Ocean Matters” feature if you want to be truly amazed. My point is the answers to many of our greatest environmental and social challenges literally surrounds us.

For the ocean to continue to do what’s it’s done for millions of years and serve the needs of a rapidly expanding human population, it needs to be healthy. Biodiversity, coral reefs, wetlands and trash-free seas aren’t just terms on a page they are environmental imperatives that dictate the future of the planet.

We have the know-how and resources to conserve and restore the aquatic and marine systems that keep the ocean and us healthy. As my grandfather once said, “The technology that we use to abuse the planet is the same technology that can help us to heal it.”

Big technology like renewable energy, carbon sequestration and advances in aquaculture certainly have a major role in restoring the ocean and the planet to a healthy balance, but in many cases it’s a matter of giving nature the space and time to do what it needs to do with a helping hand from all of us.

“The good news is technology and future-focused groups are providing us with some great tools and resources to get inspired and make smart decisions
Philippe Cousteau, environmental advocate

Regulations that help replenish and protect fish stocks, restoration and conservation projects to protect and nurture natural barriers like reefs and wetlands, and reforestation efforts are all things that can have a huge impact on ocean health with no rocket science necessary.

Take fisheries for example, with two billion people joining us on this planet over the next 40 years, there will be a huge need for more sources of protein. If these needed protein sources were to come primarily from livestock there is the very real potential for catastrophic pollution of water and land, not to mention the exponential increase in carbon emissions.

But, by some estimates, simply managing fisheries better could feed up to one billion of those people and remember, seafood is 7-10 times more efficient as a source of protein than land-based meat sources … if managed properly.

If you are thinking this all sounds like the future of the ocean is in the hands of policymakers and big industry, please think again. Every hour of every day each of us have the opportunity to make choices with impact, from what we eat and the things we buy to the examples we set for our children and friends.

The good news is technology and future-focused groups are providing us with some great tools and resources to get inspired and make smart decisions. For example: the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch pocket guide and Ocean Conservancy’s Rippl app or EarthEcho’s Water Planet Challenge.

We can make sure the ocean continues to provide inspiration, wonder and solutions for generations, however, it all comes down to personal and collective will. Ask yourself this question: When you look upon the ocean 10 years from now, do you want to see a sad reminder of what could have been; or do you want to be filled with awe and inspired by a sense of endless possibilities?

Watch: Going Green: Oceans on Friday March 29 at 15:30 GMT

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