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  • Kathy Kipp and Jean-Michel Cousteau explore the reefs on the Cayman Islands.
    In his role, he will not only represent the Cayman Islands publicly, but he will also help the government in its decision-making in environmental issues that affect the islands’ beautiful waters and reefs. Long known for its commitment to preserving its marine environment, the Cayman Islands, in many ways, serves as a model for island nations attempting to find the balance between environmental protection and sustainable tourism. As the islands have well-proven over the years, for visiting divers, this effort means the reefs and marine life they come to see continue to flourish, despite their popularity.

    In discussing this with Jean-Michel recently, he made clear his strong feelings and long relationship with the Cayman Islands. “I started coming here with Skin Diver magazine many years ago, working on articles about environmentally aware diving. I realized I had found a treasure—a place that is in demand among tourists but has managed to make a lot of good decisions that are benefiting its marine environment.

    Jean-Michel and two Caymanian children hold tiny turtle hatchlings at Grand Cayman's Turtle Farm.
    “When I was approached about becoming spokesperson, I said before I considered it, I wanted to do an independent survey of the islands. I brought in a marine scientific team, and we examined many issues, such as energy use, sewage treatment, reef preservation, garbage disposal and others, then wrote a report for the government.

     

    As the spokesman for the islands, Jean-Michel will work closely with the government and dive operators.

     

    “What I found made me excited. Here was the chance to get directly involved with a government and its resources, and its professional dive operators, with the goal to protect its environment for the future, while providing for its local people and maintaining its attractiveness for visitors. It seemed a rare opportunity to both educate the public and help an island nation succeed in one of its most crucial endeavors.” According to the The Honorable Thomas Jefferson, the Cayman Islands’ Minister of Tourism, and also an active diver, “We feel Jean-Michel can make a substantial contribution to our future. He has been a friend to the Cayman Islands and all of us, and we look forward to working together in the years to come.”

    Mrs. Angela Martin, the Cayman Islands’ Director of Tourism, adds, “Jean-Michel’s life’s work is the preservation of the oceans. Working closely with him in this way will allow us to learn from him as we take care of the Cayman Islands. We will be able to apply the principles he has fostered to our view and efforts toward tourism and environmental protection for the future.”

    For more information about visiting the Cayman Islands, call your travel agent or (800) 346-3313. You can also visit the Cayman Island’s website at www.cayman islands.ky and www.divecayman.ky.