In 1985, the marine depths of Cuba provided an example of healthy management for four reasons: first, because the fishers could not sell undersized fish or shellfish; secondly, because fishing was forbidden during spawning; thirdly, because the available sea space was divided into parcels that were exploited in rotation; fourthly, because some parcels were classified as temporary or permanent reserves.
The reason behind this prudent exploitation bears the name “lobster.” Calypso’s divers visited perfectly tended lobster parks. The crustaceans abounded in the fissures and refuges of the rock and coral. All vibrating antennae, they were the very symbol of an ecosystem in balance.
The team brought back images to show the world a whale shark (a 10-ton fish) feeding inoffensively on plankton and sardines. The human experiences were also exceptional. Jacques-Yves Cousteau received Fidel Castro aboard the ship for dinner. The Cuban leader granted Captain Cousteau the favour of liberating 80 political prisoners. By the same token, the members of the Cousteau team became the first non-Cubans to enter the gate to the US Naval base at Guantanamo Bay since the missile crisis of 1961.