Cousteau says Puerto Rico reefs are dead

Published Monday, June 23, 2003

FAJARDO, Puerto Rico (AP) - The son of the late ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau toured Puerto Rico's northeastern coastline by helicopter Saturday, saying much of the area's coral reefs appeared to be dead.

"We continue using the ocean as a trash can," Jean-Michel Cousteau told environmentalists and reporters after the tour. He was basing his assessment of Puerto Rico's reefs on appearance and existing data.

Cousteau said ignorance about coral reefs and the hundreds of species they support was contributing to a worldwide trend in coral depletion.

Pollution, chemicals, erosion, diseases and physical contact are factors that can lead to coral depletion, he said.

Cousteau has followed in the footsteps of his late father, Jacques-Yves Cousteau, who until his death in 1997 led ocean expeditions throughout the world and popularized marine issues through films.

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