GRAND CAYMAN ISLAND: Jean-Michel Cousteau, president of Ocean Futures Society, called on divers and ocean sports enthusiasts around the world to become "ambassadors for ocean protection" in his remarks at his induction into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.
"It is up to people like you, who have an emotional investment in the oceans, to empower others in our mutual quest to protect the oceans we love," Cousteau told the audience.
Cousteau urged those involved in scuba sports to practice "responsible diving" for themselves and others, and ensure safeguards for coral reefs, endangered fish and marine mammals.
"We are among those most connected to the ocean, and the ocean is connected to the survival of our planet," he said. "Divers need to be the sentinels that keep watch over the assets of the ocean."
Cousteau said he was honored to join his father, Jacques Cousteau, and respected colleagues as an inductee into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame. Other previous inductees include Ocean scientist and explorer Dr. Sylvia Earle, Zale Parry and Lloyd Bridges of Sea Hunt, John Cronin (PADI founder), Bob Hollis (Oceanic founder), photographer David Doubilet, Sport Diver Magazine online publisher Paul Tzimoulis and the late Ivan Tors, underwater film pioneer.
The ISDHF is designed to commemorate the achievements and contributions of the champions of diving. Inductees must possess a commitment to the development, growth and promotion of the sport of recreational scuba diving around the world.
"The ISDHF is delighted to be able to honor Jean-Michel’s commitment and contribution to the development of this incredible sport," said The Hon. W. McKeeva Bush, OBE, JP, Cayman Islands Minister of Tourism, Environment, Development and Commerce.
The Hall of Fame induction is yet another honor for Cousteau, one of the most recognized figures in ocean exploration and environmentalism in the world. At the 2002 Winter Olympics, Jean-Michel became the first person to represent the environment at the Opening Ceremony of the games. In 1998, then Vice President Al Gore bestowed an Environmental Hero Award to Cousteau at the National Ocean Conference in Monterey, CA.
Throughout the 1990's, Cousteau received the DEMA's Reaching Out Award, the NOGI Award from the Academy of Underwater Arts and Sciences, the SeaKeepers Award from Showboats International, and the John M. Olquin Marine Environment Award from the Cabrillo Marine Aquarium.
Cousteau has produced over 70 films, and been awarded the Emmy, the Peabody Award, the 7 d'Or- the French equivalent of the Emmy, and the Cable Ace Award.
The mission of Ocean Futures Society is to explore our global ocean, inspire and educate people throughout the world to act responsibly for its protection, documenting the critical connection between humanity and nature, and celebrating the ocean’s vital importance to the survival of all life on our planet. Ocean Futures Society is based in Santa Barbara, CA. To learn more about Jean-Michel Cousteau and Ocean Futures Society, go to our website at www.oceanfutures.org.