The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 6, 2001 · Page 65
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 65

Salina, Kansas
Issue Date:
Sunday, May 6, 2001
Page 65
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NewsOViews A Cousteau returns to the sea Alexandra Cousteau, right, is co-host of a new kids'sh^^jv. I T'S NO SURPRISE Alexandra Cousteau, 25, could swim (at 3 months) before she could walk. The granddaughter of legendary undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau heads the environmentally minded Philippe Cousteau Foundation (named for her father, killed in a plane crash when she was 3), based in Vero Beach, Fla. This fall, shell co-host a new syndicated science show for teens, Scope. We recently spoke with her: A HALLMARK HALL OF FAME PRESENTATION \v I 11 KIII \-- i.\\u\lil )i .il oil I. lo^r l')un> i\ FOLLOW THE 5TAPS HOAE wit uvcimun can cnangeyour wnoie wonm SUNDAY; Jacques Cousteau's granddaughter is a big shark fan. "They're fun to dive with." What three things would you take to survive on an island? A dog [for companionship], a knife [for utility], and a tarp [to protect her from the elements]. You've been swimming practically all your life. How long can you hold your breath? [Laughs.] About a minute and a half. I'll time you. [Timed, Alexandra held her breath 1 minute, 14 seconds.] How many bathing suits do you own? I have a Speedo, and that's what I do all my diving in. I have two bikinis and two tanWnis [two-piece swimsuits that feature a longer tank top]. Are you a backstroker or a butterflyer? I'm a crawler. Can you sing John Denver's Calypso, about your grandfather's ship? I only sing in the shower. But I know the song! What is your favorite fish? Sharks. They're powerfid, intelligent, graceful and fun to dive with. They have such elegant body language that you always know where you stand. They can decide to eat you, but you pretty much can see it coming. Why are we so fascinated by the Idea of killer sharks? My father was [working] to educate people about sharks, and Jaws came out and ruined everything. People went out joy-killing sharks. So you're not a fan of that film? That movie never should have been made. It perpetuated ignorance and stereotypes. You're also not a fan of tropical fish hobby shops. One of the biggest problems with the coral reefs aroimd the world is there's a huge demand for tropical fish for aquarium hobbyists — in the United States, mostly. They catch these fish often with cyanide or dynamite, or bleach they squirt on the reef to get the fish to come up. Then they net them, put them in boxes and [ship] them. [Most] die in transit, and meanwhile, the coral reefs have been destroyed. We've lost 40% of the reef in Florida, almost 30% [globally]. So are the oceans better or worse since your grandfather showed us the silent world beneath the sea? Much worse. Water quality is degrading around the world. That destroys coral reefs and mangroves, which not only are nurseries for a lot of the fisheries, but they also protect coastal communities from big storms. They provide bio­ diversity, which is impoi-tant for continuing evolution for marine animals. If pollution gets into these animals [and] we eat these fish, the pollution gets into us. We're recording instances of new vinises and cancer and disease in these [marine] animals that have never been seen before. If they go, we go. It's as simple as that, ca Contributing: Elizabeth Kaye McCall 14 USA WEEKEND'May 4-6,2001

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