Who is Alexandra Cousteau?
  • Filmmaker and environmental activist
  • Went on her first expedition at the age of four months
  • Learned how to scuba dive with her grandfather at the age of seven
  • Earned a Bachelor's in political sciences from Georgetown University
  • Works closely with Oceana Group as a senior advisor to curb overfishing
  • In 2018, created OCEANS 2050, an initiative to restore lost coastal habitats

Jacques-Yves Cousteau's love for the exploration of the oceans is definitely evident in the work of his granddaughter, Alexandra Cousteau, who now continues to advocate for the restoration and sustainable management of the oceans by being a senior advisor for the international advocacy organization Oceana.

"Certainly the Cousteau name is very well recognized, but the issues we are facing today are fairly different to what my grandfather faced," Cousteau told IntraFish.

"One of the most heartbreaking issues I have encountered is how conservation groups have been at odds with the industry, but I actually want the same things without compromising the abundance in the ocean."

One of the most heartbreaking issues I have encountered is how conservation groups have been at odds with the industry

Despite having a stronger background in the wild fisheries sector, Cousteau cited aquaculture as part of an abundant ocean production solution.

"I fully support aquaculture, but it has to be done right," she said. "Just like every other industry is remaking itself in the 21st century, we need to change too."

Cousteau said issues like high mortality rates in fish farming still warrant addressing, but fish farming is able to play a role in balancing the need to feed the world a lower carbon footprint diet and grow the economy while regenerating the ocean.

Alexandra Cousteau and grandfather Jacques-Yves Cousteau. Photo: Twitter

"What is truly interesting is just how differently we can do things," she said.

"There are tons of exciting things in the aquaculture sector that if done right could be a solution to creating an abundant ocean."

One thing Cousteau pointed out is the large gap between the protein volume generated by fisheries versus aquaculture.

"Fish is a protein that the world needs," she said. "If we can implement policies on quotas and such in wild fisheries, we could feed twice as many people, including the very poor, the hungry, and the children."

She looped back to her grandfather's work, which she sees as a baseline for the course the industry needs to follow.

"My grandfather was very far-thinking and a visionary, seeing that the value of objects would be in their carbon footprint," Cousteau said.

"He also would have wanted aquaculture to be done right."

What should the industry focus on?

Traceability and transparency are high on the agenda, she said. If a company doesn't adapt and implement such technologies they become irrelevant.

"Everyone wants to know where their food comes from and the technology coming to report on it is massive," Cousteau said.

"The companies at the forefront are going to have the premium products and others should ride the wave."