Each year the International SeaKeepers Society presents an ocean advocate with its SeaKeeper Award. The non-profit organization has selected Fabien Cousteau as this year’s recipient.
Fabien Cousteau is perhaps most known for being part of the famed Cousteau family. He’s the eldest grandson of the late Jacques Cousteau and son of Jean Michel Cousteau III. Fittingly, his father received the SeaKeeper Award in 1996. Fabien Cousteau joined the family expeditions at just seven years of age, having also learned to scuba dive by age four. He’s been an explorer and staunch environmental advocate since then. In 2010, for example, he established Plant a Fish, a non-profit focused on educating kids and communities as to how to restore their local water ecosystems, by “replanting” important fish and other species. The goal is to restore 1 billion fish globally. Fabien Cousteau is also a filmmaker, responsible for a number of shark documentaries. He further sits on the board of several environmental organizations, such as Blue Ocean Film Festival, Plastic Pollution Coalition, One World One Ocean, Antarctic Ocean Alliance, the New York Harbor School, and the International SeaKeepers Society.
The latter selected him for its SeaKeeper Award this year in recognition of his various contributions, which includes the recent Mission 31. It was a record-setting, 31-day underwater-living experiment off Key Largo, Florida. Fabien Cousteau lived in Aquarius, a permanently submerged marine lab 63 feet beneath the surface. It’s the world’s only underwater marine lab, in fact, operated by Florida International University. Mission 31 lasted one day longer and was 30 feet deeper than a similar experiment Jacques Cousteau completed 50 years ago, which proved people suffer no ill effects from working and living in such conditions. Fabien Cousteau and his team documented their days regularly and shared them via YouTube and other channels. Schoolchildren further engaged via satellite with the team 70 times. Related to this, the Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center, in the Florida Keys, is being built. Children around the world will be able to learn about the ocean and connect with him and other researchers via social media when it opens next year.
When we interviewed him for our Leadership Series in 2011, Fabien Cousteau told us, “Our planet is a natural-resource bank account—we need to stop eating away the capital and start living off its interest.”
Fabien Cousteau will receive the SeaKeeper Award on November 5, during the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show (which has been moved a week later than in previous years).