Fabien Cousteau is an aquanaut, oceanographic explorer, conservationist and documentary filmmaker. As the first grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Fabien spent his early years aboard his famous grandfather’s ships, Calypso and Alcyone; and learned how to scuba dive on his fourth birthday. Today, Fabien continues to fulfill his family’s legacy to protect and preserve the planet’s extensive and endangered marine inhabitants and habitats. With his vast experience in the field he uses his knowledge to help refine a public policy platform grounded in the belief that environmental discipline can be the basis for cutting-edge solutions that strike a balance between regional as well as global environmental problems, and the realities of market economies.
Fabien is well known for his study of sharks. During 2000-2002, he was an Explorer-at-Large for National Geographic and collaborated with them to create a TV special aimed at changing public conceptions about sharks called, “Attack of the Mystery Shark,” based on the series of shark attacks that occurred along the New Jersey shoreline in the summer of 1916. The still-unsolved attacks are rumored to have served as inspiration for the 1975 blockbuster film Jaws. Then in 2003-2006, Fabien produced the documentary, “Mind of a Demon,” that aired on CBS. With the help of a large crew, Fabien created a 14-foot, 1,200-pound, lifelike shark submarine called “Troy” that enabled him to immerse himself inside the shark world, providing viewers with a rare view of the mysterious and often misunderstood creatures. He developed the idea of a shark-shaped submersible based on a childhood memory of the cover of a French-language comic book, “The Adventures of Tintin: Le Trésor De Rackham Le Rouge,” which featured this idealistic craft.
Photo Credit: Anne-Marie Cousteau
For the next four years (2006-2010), Fabien was part of a multi-hour series for PBS called, “Ocean Adventures” with his father, Jean-Michel Cousteau, and sister, Céline. Inspired by his grandfather’s famous 1978 PBS series, “Ocean Adventures” provided viewers with a rare look into some of the most spectacular marine species and environments on the planet.
In 2010, Fabien launched Plant A Fish, a nonprofit organization designed to empower communities and children to help restore local water ecosystems through the healthy “replanting” of key marine species with the ultimate goal of planting 1 billion “fish” worldwide. Current initiatives include restoration projects in El Salvador, New York City, South Florida and the Maldives (www.plantafish.org).
In June 2014, Fabien and his team of aquanauts embarked on Mission 31, the longest science expedition to take place at Aquarius, the world’s only underwater marine laboratory located nine miles off the coast of the Florida Keys, and 63 feet beneath the sea. Fabien’s Mission 31 broke new ground in ocean exploration and honored the 50th anniversary of his grandfather’s original underwater living experiment (Conshelf Two) by going deeper, longer and further, while broadcasting each moment live on multiple channels exposing the world to the adventure, drama and mystique of what lies beneath (www.mission-31.com).
Fabien is currently working on a feature documentary film and book documenting the adventures of Mission 31, as well as establishing a Fabien Cousteau Ocean Learning Center in the Florida Keys. The center will be a virtual STEAM platform to afford children around the world the opportunity to learn about oceans and engage with aquanauts, ocean explorers and marine biologists directly through social media and interactive videos. The concept is based on the virtual classroom sessions that took place during Mission 31. In addition, Fabien also serves as a member of multiple cause-driven and charitable boards including SeaKeepers Society, Water Innovation Alliance, Millennium Project, Blue Ocean Film Festival, Plastic Pollution Coalition, One World One Ocean, Points of Light, Antarctic Ocean Alliance and the New York Harbor School. Fabien speaks at a variety of global and domestic environmental and water conferences as well as mainstream business conferences, including: Google Zeitgeist, Social Media Week, SXSW, PNC, DLD, TEDx, Bloomberg, Rio+20 Summit, Carbon War Room, Social Innovation Summit, and the United Nations Foundation to name a few. He is a frequently interviewed, and featured by major media outlets worldwide, about ocean exploration, conservation and environmental initiatives (www.fabiencousteau.org).