Rob Stewart cherished ocean wildlife and inspired others to do the same. In January 2017, Stewart lost his life while diving off the Florida Keys. He was just 37.
In 2002, Stewart was working as an underwater photographer in the Galapagos Islands when he discovered illegal longlining for sharks. In this cruel practice, sharks are baited and trapped, their fins are cut off and they’re thrown back into the ocean, dead or alive. Shocked by this discovery, he created the award-winning SHARKWATER documentary to raise awareness about shark finning and its consequences on ocean health. In 2007, we partnered with Stewart on the distribution of the film to bring this issue into the hearts and minds of Canadians. Charismatic, passionate and well-educated, he quickly became a celebrated spokesman for the creatures and places he loved. In 2012, we paired up with Stewart again to promote his next film REVOLUTION, which offered a new perspective on conservation, exploring the idea that we must save the oceans to save our own species.
In 2014 and 2015, we collaborated with Stewart, United Conservationists (UC) and the Discovery Channel to promote a message of conservation during Discovery’s Shark Week. Together, we brought UC’s Fin Free movement to a wider audience and encouraged customers and staff to speak up against shark finning. We also created and sold the limited edition Shark Fin Soap to raise funds that would support UC’s ongoing work.
SHARKWATER raised the profile of shark finning, but it wasn’t long before Stewart discovered that this wasn’t the only practice contributing to the needless slaughter of sharks. Scientists estimate that nearly 150 million sharks are killed annually, but they’re only able to account for about 70 million of them. To learn more about where the other 80 million end up, Stewart began work on his newest film SHARKWATER: EXTINCTION. His journey would unearth an even bigger, darker scandal that reveals how our fear of sharks and complacency as consumers has let sharks be slaughtered for everything from cosmetics to fast food.
In January 2017, Stewart traveled to Florida with the aim of capturing footage of the endangered sawfish for this new documentary. Unfortunately, a tragic accident claimed his life. To honor Stewart’s life, his work and his memory, we’re re-launching Shark Fin Soap and donating all sales to continue his legacy. Part of the funds will be used to complete and release SHARKWATER: EXTINCTION, while the rest will go towards establishing a foundation to support shark and ocean conservation efforts. You can support shark conservation right now by signing Humane Society International’s petition to ban Canadian imports of products of shark finning.
Rob inspired and educated thousands of people on the issues he cared deeply about, and together we built a close, collaborative partnership. As his friends and partners, we’re committed to working towards his vision of healthy oceans for a healthy planet.