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PHILIPPE: I’d heard of the Bikini Atolls and the reef shark population there and we agreed it would be a great to investigate the rumors of these incredible shark congregations happening at the site of all these nuclear tests. ASHLAN: After those explosions, everything pretty much died in the area. We’d heard the rumors that these sharks had come back in huge numbers, but the interesting thing about these sharks is that they’re non-migratory. No one went there and you had this explosion of life—nature restoring itself, from nuclear Armageddon to paradise in 70 years. That’s why the Marshallese government established this area as a marine park in 2011.
But despite that legal designation, there is an incredible amount of illegal fishing and pirate fishing that we stumbled upon.
It’s this hopeful message: here you have these bunkers of twisted cement that are a testament to this terrible, destructive past—the worst technology humans engineer—standing next to these thriving coral reefs.
But then you see illegal fishing and it’s very frustrating, to say the least.
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PHILIPPE: We’re going as part of a campaign to try to get ANWR finally protected and lay to rest whether we can drill there or not.
Also, I did a fun series online—The Aquatic World of Philippe Cousteau.
I want to bring that to storytelling—to make saving the world sexy. PHILIPPE: I think after people watch this film, they will hopefully come away thinking that was a cool story—but also really important. Your parents spent a good deal out on the ocean filming expeditions. How do you get millennials—anyone, really—to care about the environment?
At the end of the day, this is the legacy of my family. ASHLAN: We really wanted to set up this show up for young people. If I can inspire a little girl by seeing me tag a shark, that’s amazing.