After Jacques Cousteau’s visit to the island in 1977, his granddaughter has joined an Oceana diving team to take new images of Cabrera.
Oceana proposes multiplying by 10 the protected surface, including sensitive habitats and endangered species that lie beyond the park boundaries.
Alexandra Cousteau, Jacques Cousteau’s granddaughter and an Oceana advisor, has travelled to the Balearics to support the proposal for the enlargement of the Cabrera National Park. The visit will take place 36 years after the famous French oceanographer’s expedition to the island. In the next few days, Alexandra will join an Oceana diving team that will take new images of the seabed to promote the enlargement of the protected area.
“The Mediterranean has suffered serious damage in the last century, and the Cabrera National Park is a perfect example of how sea life becomes abundant once again when an area is protected”, says Alexandra Cousteau, senior advisor at Oceana. “When my grandfather, Jacques Cousteau, visited the island three decades ago, he expressed his concern that it would be too late to protect it. But now we know that the sea can recover if we act in time and we have the duty to preserve areas which were previously unknown or whose significance went unnoticed”.
The work previously carried out by Oceana in the area surrounding the National Park proved the existence of a dozen ecosystems and almost 300 species requiring protection. They include black coral (Antipathes subpinnata), red coral (Corallium rubrum) knobbed triton (Charonia lampas), and a large kelp forest, an endemic alga in the Mediterranean, protected by international legislation, and Laminaria rodriguezii, discovered by Oceana in 2010.
“The Cabrera National Park was created to preserve a number of species and habitats, but there are also found in the surrounding areas and completely lack protection. This is the case of algae seabed – such as laminaria, coralligenous, and maerl –, which are being devastated by trawling”, says Xavier Pastor, Executive Director of Oceana in Europe. “For this reason, Oceana proposes enlarging the protected area to 87,000 hectares, which would mean multiplying the current area by 10”.
Alexandra Cousteau has collaborated with Oceana since 2012 as senior advisor. She has carried out several activities for the international organisation for marine conservation, including taking part in the 2012 Baltic Expedition. She is the granddaughter of the famous French oceanographer and popular scientist Jacques-Yves Cousteau, with whom she learnt how to dive since the age of seven. When she was only four months old, she went on an expedition with her father, Philippe Cousteau. She is an enthusiastic defender of the environment and promotes the importance of conservation, recovery, and sustainable management of water resources for a healthy planet and a productive society.
Further information: Cabrera