Florida-based independent press Ocean Publishing has signed Jean-Michel Cousteau to a four-book deal. Cousteau, an environmentalist and son of French undersea explorer and filmmaker Jacques Cousteau, is president of the Ocean Futures Society in Santa Barbara, Calif., will write about the country's 13 national marine sanctuaries, areas that the author calls "America's underwater treasures."

Ocean Publishing is planning to release the first book, Explore the Southeast National Marine Sanctuaries with Jean-Michel Cousteau, in March 2010, following with a title every year until the series is complete. Publisher Frank Gromling said that he plans to do a larger-than-usual first printing for the books--he's looking to go to press for an initial 5,000 copies--"recognizing the draw of Jean-Michel's name and reputation." Gromling added that the press is "prepared to do re-prints very quickly."