BARCELONA, Spain (July 2, 2010)—The Cousteau Society and National Geographic scientists and filmmakers returned today from their flagship expedition aboard Jacques-Yves Cousteau’s legendary vessel Alcyone, which has been documenting the Mediterranean now — and in the past.
The expedition is part of National Geographic Ocean Fellow Dr. Enric Sala’s research to establish baselines of ocean health. Working with Pierre-Yves Cousteau, Jacques’ youngest son, the voyage uses historical footage from Cousteau’s work from the 1940s and has captured new footage to give an up-to-date snapshot of key sites in the Mediterranean.
The expedition set off June 4 from Marseille and went to the Scandola Nature Reserve in Corsica to the Medes Islands in Spain, the S’Espardell Marine Reserve in Formentera and finally Cabrera National Park south of Mallorca. Sala’s team collected scientific data on the abundance of marine life inside and outside these marine reserves and filmed the work to show what these reserves can do.
“The abundant marine life that Cousteau filmed off Marseille in 1946 is gone mostly because of too much fishing, but we also found light at the end of the tunnel,” said Sala. “The marine reserves we visited during the expedition demonstrate that we can bring that underwater richness back. This new footage shows in a dramatic way that there is hope for our sea. We know now exactly what has been lost since then and can determine what we need to do to bring back marine abundance for the ocean itself, and for the communities who depend on it.”
Pierre-Yves Cousteau, president of Cousteau Divers, said, “My father inspired millions of people everywhere in the world to love, study, explore and protect the ocean. On this expedition we are carrying out the Cousteau heritage and philosophy to raise awareness of the importance of marine protected areas in the Mediterranean Sea. Diving at Le Veyron, where my father first began exploring the underwater world, was a very special experience for me. Being on this expedition is giving me a glimpse at what his life as an explorer must have been like.”
The expedition, which will be part of a National Geographic Channel documentary, is now assessing current science about the health of the Mediterranean with what was discovered this month and will show exclusive new footage during a press event in Barcelona.
Sala and Cousteau will report findings to national and community stakeholders as well as online via National Geographic and The Cousteau Society throughout 2010. They are sharing information with a team from Oceana, who are now researching the southern Mediterranean. Xavier Pastor, executive director for Oceana in Europe, added, “Oceana`s research vessels have been documenting the Mediterranean for four years; we are enthused to work with National Geographic and the Cousteau Society on the work they are doing now to support the Mediterranean.”
The expedition is supported by IWC Schaffhausen, the Waitt Family Foundation, Veolia Environment and the National Geographic Society.
NOTE FOR THE MEDIA:
A press event held by the National Geographic Society and The Cousteau Society will take place on Friday, July 2, at 1 p.m. CEST at Maritim de Barcelona for invited media and special guests. Address: Av. de les Drassanes s/n, 08001 Barcelona, http://www.mmb.cat/index.php?idm=1. A media tour of the exterior of the Alcyone will also be available.
For further information, contact: Belen Frias (National Geographic Channel International, Spain) PH: +34.91.702.26.90 / +34.671.559.954 firstname.lastname@example.org and Lucie McNeil (National Geographic Mission Programs) +1 857 222 7508 email@example.com.
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National Geographic Society
The National Geographic Society is one of the world’s largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations. Founded in 1888 to “increase and diffuse geographic knowledge,” the Society works to inspire people to care about the planet. It reaches more than 375 million people worldwide each month through its official journal, National Geographic, and other magazines; National Geographic Channel; television documentaries; music; radio; films; books; DVDs; maps; exhibitions; live events; school publishing programs; interactive media; and merchandise. National Geographic has funded more than 9,200 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. For more information, visit nationalgeographic.com.
The Cousteau Society
Founded in 1973 by Captain Jacques-Yves Cousteau, The Cousteau Societyis a membership-supported, not-for-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection of aquatic systems and improvement of the quality of life for present and future generations. The man is gone but his message has never been more alive. Under the leadership of President Francine Cousteau, The Cousteau Society keeps it ever in the forefront of public awareness and continues the unique explorations and observations of ecosystems throughout the world that have helped millions of people understand and appreciate the fragility of life on our water planet. Half a century of protecting water systems has expanded to embrace a wide variety of programs to encourage communities to achieve sustainable harmony with nature. For more information, visit www.cousteau.org.