The seas as her grandfather Captain Cousteau filmed them all but exist today. “Let’s not resign ourselves, let’s show our outrage and take action”.
Alexandra Cousteau has saltwater running through her veins. It’s a family trait. But she is also driven by conviction, and this is why she has made the defence of the seas the pillar of her activity as a marine ecologist. As a member of OCEANA, the organisation she closely collaborates with to fight for the recovery of marine biodiversity, her ultimate goal is to “give the ocean its former splendour back, because we can no longer talk about preserving. It’s time to rebuild”. And so was her message on the final day of Meeting of the Seas in a conversation with Benjamín Lana, president of Vocento’s Gastronomy Division.
Letting her inspirational personality show, Alexandra fervently argued that “stories have the power to change things”. She never tires of telling people about what is happening to our seas – overfishing, illegal fishing, loss of biodiversity, etc. – and thus stir up awareness and instigate change. In the sea “things aren’t decided yet, we have a small 10-year window of opportunity to act”, if we do, the ocean will get its former splendour back and it will return the favour by providing us with food.
We’re all part of the change
According to Cousteau, “we all have to be involved in the power of change”. This is why, through OCEANA, she works with various chefs who serve as ambassadors and advocate for the need to fight for fish diversity and abundance. As public figures, they bear the responsibility of our relationship with the sea. “We will take example from what they cook”, Lana acknowledged. To which Cousteau responded by urging chefs to add new species to their restaurants’ menus – putting them into the spotlight to take some strain off the 15-20 most-in-demand species that weigh on the areas most under fishery pressure.
But it’s everyone’s responsibility. “Everything we do has an impact, this is why behind every choice there’s an opportunity”. Consequently, Alexandra is calling for a “more transparent supply chain so that consumers contribute to the recovery of the seas and support responsible fishermen by only buying clearly traceable fish”. Being unable to do so, she decided long ago not to eat fish whose origin she is unsure of.
It is necessary, she asserts, that politicians approve and apply regulations that foster the abundance of the oceans as science envisions it. And society has to call for political action to that end. “Young people are already doing it”, Cousteau says, quickly adding “Don’t we want a better future for our children? That future isn’t just about what university they will go to or what job they will find. That future essentially is about their quality of life”. It is something we now have to make informed decisions about as a matter of urgency.
“There’s still time for us to design the future we want”, Cousteau concluded. Optimism was indeed the common frame of mind until the very last minute of this edition of Meeting of the Seas.