By Tess Middleton, Fin Free Albury Wodonga
On January 31st this year we lost one of the ocean’s greatest advocates and the sharks’ greatest hero.
Rob Stewart grew up swimming and scuba diving. It blossomed to a love of the marine ecosystem, leading Stewart to study biology in school at the University of Western Ontario and zoology and marine biology in Kenya and Jamaica. After becoming a marine biologist, Rob undertook further study in film and photography in order to become a global advocate for sharks and expose the reality our sharks face.
Rob was best known for directing and producing the 2006 film “Sharkwater,” a critically-acclaimed conservation film that helped get shark finning banned in so many countries around the world. In 2002 Rob joined Sea Shepherd’s Ocean Warrior vessel to film Sea Shepherd Founder Paul Watson intervening with Cost Rican shark poachers. The footage is some of the most compelling action in his film Sharkwater. Rob and Sea Shepherd collaborated on and off for years after this.
After released, Sharkwater debuted at the Toronto Film Festival and won 31 awards internationally. It’s because of him that so many people now know the catastrophic danger that sharks are in.
It’s because of this film that Fin Free became a global movement around the world and because of Rob that millions of sharks have since had their lives spared.
Rob dedicated his entire life to saving sharks and telling their story. We owe it to Rob to tell his story, and carry on his legacy.
Rob passed away in the ocean trying to film sharks, while filming the sequel to Sharkwater, ‘Sharkwater Extinction’. As there has been such a global decline in shark numbers, Rob was diving deeper, for longer periods and with difficult techniques in an attempt to find sharks to film.
On May 23rd the Wodonga Sustainable Activity Centre, on the Lincoln Causeway will be holding a special screening of Sharkwater, ‘ Tickets are $10 and all proceeds from the event will be going to help finish the production of the film Sharkwater Extinction. Tickets can be purchased via Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/movie-discussion-shark-water-tickets-33568441111 or at the door
This event is a tribute for Rob. We hope that you can spread the word, invite and bring along as many people as possible. It is our hope to have a full house and a standing ovation at the end of the film for Rob – because that’s what he deserves.