Cousteau drawn to UAE’s rich marine life

Pierre-Yves Cousteau, son of legendary conservationist Jacques, said that the UAE’s passion for diving should help to keep the oceans healthy.

Pierre-Yves Cousteau, son of Jacques Cousteau, hopes to work with Environment Agency Abu Dhabi. Courtesy Eye on Earth
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ABU DHABI // Pierre-Yves Cousteau, son of legendary conservationist Jacques, said that the UAE’s passion for diving should help to keep the oceans healthy.

“I’m really starting to discover how rich the diving is here. Through this summit I’ve met a lot of very interesting people who work here,” said the 33-year-old at the Eye on Earth Summit.

“I’ve met the Environment Agency Abu Dhabi, I’ve seen a lot of the work that they have been doing and how maybe we can tie it into the work I’ve been doing,” he said.

That work, Cousteau Divers, is a non-government marine protection organisation that he started six years ago. It combines his love for the ocean with extensive data collection.

Divers upload photos, dive logs and video of their trips to the organisation’s website to create a database.

“I love diving. I want to do something to protect the seas and I know I can’t do it alone. I know I am not the only one who cares – there are millions of divers out there who care just as much about the ocean.

“I was speaking with a scientist from Scipps Institute of Oceanography and he said we need to collect as much information as we can and one day we will slice through that information and derive knowledge from it,” said Mr Cousteau, who also works with the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

His latest initiative, Project Hermes, was conceived to obtain data in much the same way but it is focused on ocean temperatures.

“I hadn’t realised that nobody knew the temperature of the ocean. It’s incredibly important to foster creativity to find solutions,” he said.

Project Hermes will function with the same crowdsourced-collection methods that his other projects have used.

Mr Cousteau said he wanted to return to the UAE to promote more of his work and collaborate with local groups.

However, like so much at the Eye to Earth summit, the end goal is not just to collect information.

“Unfortunately, I haven’t had enough time to dive in the Arabian Gulf,” he said. “But there is some great diving and work to be done here.”

nalwasmi@thenational.ae