Alexandra Cousteau praises reef project

A member of the legendary Cousteau family has thrown her enthusiastic support into an innovative program that is rebuilding reef systems in the Pacific. Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of the late ocean pioneer, Jacques Cousteau, said the Coral Gardens program nurtured by Counterpart International and its partners in the Pacific, is “one of the few success stories sparkling among a litany of bad news about the loss of coral reefs throughout the world.”
Alexandra Cousteau, who has just completed photo shoots with a number of French publications, is traveling to the Caribbean with the Coral Gardens scientist, Dr. Austin Bowden-Kerby, to help promote the program which works closely with local communities and tourism resorts to restore coral reefs damaged by nature and man.“Reefs are an integral part of the Caribbean’s attraction for tourists”, said Alexandra, daughter of the late Philippe Cousteau, “and Counterpart International wants to see if we can be useful in the region’s efforts to curb the degradation of this most valuable resource.”Alexandra, a noted diver and oceans advocate, said “not enough people realise that coral reefs contain more diversity than a rain forest, and it was important to ensure sufficient resources were spent on securing the survival of current species.” In this, she said the tourism industry had a wonderful opportunity to contribute directly to Coral Gardens, “which after all - are directly increasing the value of resorts by working with locals to protect and regrow reef systems.“The local fishing community, she added, had to be fully incorporated into the Coral Gardens program. “They have to remember that regenerated reefs mean a lot more fish, and dying reefs reduce the number of fish available for all.“Coral Gardens with active sites in Fiji and the Solomon Islands is run by the Foundation for the Peoples of the South Pacific, FSP Fiji and Counterpart International.