Since its creation by Captain Cousteau in 1974, The Cousteau Society has devoted particular attention to the balance between Man and Nature on the world’s shorelines.
In spite of this, coastal areas, which act as an interface between marine and terrestrial habitats, are being increasingly subjected to the pressure caused by human activities and are now even more threatened by the consequences of climate change. This has led to the degradation of coastal areas, depriving Present and Future Generations of environmental assets that contribute to their quality of life and to local development.
In the 90's, following the Rio Conference, the concept of "integrated management of coastal areas" was considered essential and many projects based on scientific and legal studies were tested at all levels. Despite these initiatives, the world’s shorelines continue to deteriorate. Concerned by this development, The Cousteau Society wants to make its own contribution. As such, it has decided to implement a campaign that is aimed specifically at coastal habitats.
Figures below illustrate how important are the coastal zones, for human population and natural environment alike:
60% of the world human population lives less then 60 km away from a coast
2/3rd of the cities with more than 2.5 millions inhabitants are close to an estuarian area
75% of the fish species are dependant of coastal areas in their life cycle
1/3rd of the world coastal regions are at high risk of degradation.
Cousteau Coastal Programs are aiming at sustainable development of the coastal areas with current projects in Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM), the Jacques Cousteau observatory in Mexico and the restoration of Easter Island forest ecosystem.