Auburn University

Cousteau grandson speaks as part of 'BLUE on Tour'

By Kristen Letsinger - Oanow

For some, swimming with sharks is the stuff of nightmares. But for Fabien Cousteau, it’s just another day at work.

In fact, Cousteau, who is the grandson of late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, helped create what he calls a “shark submersible,” a submarine that looks like a shark to let him better study the creatures.

“The connection we have with marine (animals) is much deeper than we think,” he said. “It’s much more than just DNA.”

Cousteau spoke at Auburn University Saturday evening as the keynote speaker for the “BLUE on Tour” festival that was held at the university this weekend.

After discussing the legacy of his grandfather, Cousteau shared images of the devastation caused by the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

The beaches may now look pristine, he said, but the ocean is still feeling the effects of the spill.

In places in the Gulf of Mexico, Cousteau said there is a 12-inch layer of what he calls “fluffy stuff” sitting on top of the water. This mixture of oil and other chemicals suffocates the creatures living at the bottom of the ocean, he explained.

Those bottom feeders and other animals also ingest the chemicals, and are then eaten themselves by bigger fish.

“We have to keep in mind that the oil that’s at the bottom of the ocean, down in the Gulf, is going to stay with us for decades,” he said.

Cousteau closed his presentation by giving the audience three things they can do to help sustain the Earth’s oceans:

Stop dumping plastics and stop using single-use plastics.

Use a seafood watch card that shows which seafood should be avoided. These cards can be downloaded at

Use social media outlets to make others aware of the oceans’ plight.