We’re excited to launch the #ClimateShark campaign. As COP26 kicks off in Glasgow, we know people around the world will be focused on combating climate change. Oceans are our greatest weapon against climate change and we’re missing the important role that sharks play in maintaining healthy oceans.
After learning that all fisheries could collapse by 2048, Rob Stewart’s determination to save sharks expanded to saving the oceans. ‘It’s not about saving pandas and polar bears, it’s about saving us.’ In his film Revolution, Rob addressed the role sharks and ecosystems play in keeping the oceans healthy and how those healthy oceans will help mitigate climate change.
We want to continue this conversation and bring new audiences into it. From those that care about the environment and those who actively are making an effort to curb climate change, everyone should be aware of the important role sharks play on our planet. This is why we are encouraging you to become a #ClimateShark and help save sharks and our oceans.
What is a #ClimateShark?
Someone who is a #ClimateShark embodies the shark mentality. They are focused and determined to make a positive impact on the world. They make big and small changes in their personal lives to reduce the negative impact they may have on the environment. This can be done by recycling their trash and or by making a conscious effort to eat and live more sustainably. A #ClimateShark is also someone who strives to create a larger change in the world by using their voice to advocate for legislation to protect sharks and the oceans.
Why is the connection between sharks and climate change important?
Sharks are important caretakers of their ocean ecosystems. Because sharks are at the top of the food chain, they keep species in balance to help maintain the biodiversity in reefs, mangroves, kelp forests and anywhere else sharks call home. Biodiversity is essential to maintaining healthy oceans and when oceans are healthy, they do an amazing job of combating climate change. A healthy ocean can absorb nearly 3 bn tonnes of CO2 each year, and produce more than half the oxygen on the planet. By absorbing CO2 from the atmosphere, oceans help reduce global temperatures. Without sharks there would be no healthy oceans and climate change will only get worse. This critical cycle of nature is being threatened every day as millions of sharks are killed for food and cosmetics. By protecting sharks we can ensure oceans can help fight against climate change.
How you can be a #ClimateShark
Become a #ClimateShark by taking big or small actions to help the environment. Here are five tips to get started:
Want to do more?
Consider making a donation to the Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation. All donations go towards initiatives that continue to bring awareness and educate audiences through Rob’s films about the critical need for sharks in our oceans.
Happy Lipstick Day! To celebrate, we would like to shed light on some shark-free and shark safe brands that either do not use squalene or have transitioned to plant-based alternatives or synthetic squalene to protect our endangered friends.
Shark squalene is commonly found in cosmetics like lipstick, eye shadow, and foundation, as well as personal care products like sunscreen, lip balm, moisturizer, shampoo, and conditioners. We want to help you become a better consumer of these products, so we compiled a list of sustainable brands.
Check out our starter list of Shark Free Cosmetics and Personal Care Brands to learn more!
Today is Shark Awareness Day! To mark this special day, we have some fun things to share with our shark-loving community.
Take a look at 10 facts you must know about sharks and the wins that have been made to protect them!
After that, take our Buzzfeed What Kind of Shark Are You quiz to discover which shark you most closely resemble!
We hope these give you some extra reasons to celebrate on this Shark Awareness Day and to continue taking action. Stand up for sharks and:
Take the Shark Free Pledge.
Donate here to support the the work of Fin Free and United Conservationists.
Spread the word on Shark Awareness Day and share this content with your friends!
This shark week watch Fin! This documentary by award-winning horror filmmaker Eli Roth and executive-produced by Leonardo DiCaprio is available on Discovery+ starting July 13.
The film delves into the lucrative and corrupt world behind the shark fin trade that is responsible for killing beyond 100,000,000 sharks a year.
Partnering with the world’s top scientists, activists and NGOs, Eli Roth tries to expose the villains behind the mass slaughter of the world’s sharks before they go extinct. He reveals, “This is the most terrifying movie I’ve ever made…without sharks the planet can die.”’
Watch as Roth enters extremely dangerous situations to expose the criminals behind these horrific acts. Catch our friends Peter Hammarstedt and Regi Domingo from Sharkwater, along with Ocean Ramsey, Dr. Neil Hammerschlag and many more in this must-see film.
Click here to watch the official Fin trailer. ~Emily Chavez
Click here to read a review of Fin.
Rob Stewart was a conservationist, shark activist, author, biologist, filmmaker and the founder of United Conservationists in 2009, and its Fin Free movement. His films, Sharkwater, Revolution and Sharkwater Extinction brought awareness for ocean conservation, changed laws and public policy, and created hundreds of ocean conservation groups.
His work to save sharks has resulted in more than 100 countries banning shark finning and 41 countries banning shark finning, shark fishing or the shark fin trade entirely. Fourteen U.S. states and three territories have banned shark fins. Hotels, theme parks, and airlines have banned shark fins.
Since Sharkwater, marine protected areas have increased by more than 23 million square kilometers.
Sadly, in 2017 Rob died in a tragic dive accident while filming his final movie, Sharkwater Extinction. In 2018, his family and friends created the Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation to continue his mission to “Live in harmony with nature.”
Together United Conservationists and Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation have been busy fulfilling that mandate.
Research: Sharkwater continued to research and document sharks and oceans in the Eastern Tropical Pacific in Costa Rica, Socorro, Guadeloupe, Malpelo Island.
Research in the British Virgin Islands with Richard Branson and BVI Unite to allow governments to add shark protections/expand marine parks with a goal to providing a safe corridor through the Caribbean.
Shark protection legislation that Rob initiated in Turks and Caicos has continued through the Foundation working with local conservation groups and government officials.
Advocacy: Our team attended numerous meetings and events in Ottawa and were witnesses at Senate Fisheries Committee hearings, studying the Canadian Shark Fin Trade ban. We engaged leaders within the Asian community to ensure officials understood there would be no “cultural” backlash. Canada banned the Shark Fin Trade in June 2019, citing Rob’s work as the impetus.
Presentations and meetings with legislators, staffers and government officials in D.C. to build awareness for shark conservation. Our efforts aided in the U.S. House passing the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act by the end of 2019. We continued to work with politicians and other government departments through 2020. On June 8, 2021, the U.S. Senate passed the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act.
Shark Free: Worked with cosmetics regulators in U.S./Canada/International to assist manufacturers, distributors and supply chains to remove shark squalene from their products.
Team Sharkwater created the Saving Sharks PSA that amassed millions of views — A quick look at why Sharks Matter. Through the “Summer of Sharks” the team continued shark conservation awareness through Discovery’s Sharkweek and Nat Geo’s Sharkfest, as well as a Senate push to pass the Shark Fin Sales Act.
Developed programs to bring awareness to Florida legislators as well as Fish and Wildlife Services for a complete ban on the Florida shark fin trade. Florida passed a shark fin trade ban in 2020.
Promoted awareness for New Jersey ban that passed in 2020.
Team Sharkwater completed more than 50 trips worldwide in the last two years to advocate for sharks and ocean conservation.
Attended many events, including at the Cannes Film Festival for United Nations; Monaco Better World Foundation; London premiere hosted by Princess Eugenie with Sam Branson; Hong Kong premiere hosted by Princess Eugenie; Los Angeles premiere attended by numerous celebs; D.C. premiere attended by government officials, Coast Guard and conservation groups. Sharkwater Extinction premiere in Costa Rica for government officials and conservation groups to further shark legislation. And a U.N. screening in Tunisia for government officials hosted by Canadian Embassy.
United Nations and European Commission presentation of Sharkwater Extinction with Q&A panel to outline issues such as shark finning, deep sea fishing for shark livers and the corresponding impact on poor nations and economically challenged local communities.
Brought International support for CITES Mako protections, which passed in 2019.
The Foundation continues to distribute educational information on sharks and ocean conservation through unrestricted website access. We continued the work of Fin Free in Asia through translated educational materials and public screenings with local conservation groups.
United Conservationists/Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation grants free license usage of Rob’s films for educational uses, translated into Latin Spanish, Castilian Spanish, French, Italian, German, Mandarin, Cantonese, Portuguese.
June 10, 2021
Hong Kong customs seized over three tonnes of dried shark fins at the HK International Airport.
The bust happened on May 29, 2021 after custom officers inspected two air shipments arriving from Mexico and found millions of dollars worth in shark fins. These illegal commodities are valued at approximately $2.2 million dollars.
Hong Kong officials actively do their part to try and stop the illicit trade of shark fins. Under the Protection of Endangered Species of Animals and Plants Ordinance, a person found guilty of trading an endangered species without a licence can face a maximum fine of $10 million and 10 years in prison.
Photo: The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Press Release
June 8, 2020.
We are excited to announce that on World Ocean’s Day, that the U.S. Senate passed the Shark Fin Sales Elimination Act (S.1106).
This was a lifelong dream of Rob Stewart; one that he worked for years to attain, not just through his films Sharkwater and Sharkwater Extinction, have been awarded more than 150 international awards and viewed by over 125 million people, but by campaigning tirelessly and founding the conservation groups United Conservationists and Fin Free. His dream for a Fin Free U.S. is finally coming to fruition.
Now it’s back to the House for ratification, which is expected soon; the House has demonstrated strong support for the Shark Fin Sales Elimination act, passing it 301 to 107 in 2019.
77% of oceanic sharks and rays are endangered and on the IUCN’s Red List, so this is a huge success. The bill bans the selling, buying and trade of shark fins and products that contain shark fins and will also shut down the shipping — the U.S. is a major transportation hub for shark fins.
Thanks to all our supporters and all the legislators for their years and decades of support for this important legislation. ~Emily Chavez
Australian Madison Stewart was featured in Rob Stewart’s Sharkwater Extinction. No relation to Rob, she describes herself as a “tech diver, filmmaker, and well rounded misfit” but she’s so much more. She founded Project Hiu, a Nonprofit Organization that transitions shark fishermen to shark tourism.
Madison realized at a young age that she loved sharks. In fact, she calls them adorable. Growing up on Australia’s Gold Coast, Madison became a certified Open Water diver at 12. She was filming sharks underwater by the time she was 14, having noticed the drastic decrease in shark populations.
When she realized there was a legal shark fishery inside the Great Barrier Reef that harvested 100,000 sharks a year, Madison knew she had to act before all the sharks were gone.
The documentary Shark Girl followed Madison’s mission to protect sharks. She’s also been in Julie Barnes’ Sea of Life and will appear in the upcoming Envoy: Shark Cull. She says, “I always knew I wanted to get into film but never knew it could be a tool for conservation. Before Rob I enjoyed the ocean but never saw my potential to fight for it and take responsibility for it. I would say 100 percent Rob inspired me.”
Just 27 years of age, she’s already done so much to help sharks and the environment. So today, International Women’s Day (March 8, 2021), we want to shine the spotlight on the super incredible Madison Stewart!
On January 31, 2021, we remember Rob Stewart: shark activist, biologist, author and the filmmaker behind Sharkwater, Revolution and Sharkwater Extinction on the anniversary of his death.
“I think everyone changes the world. It’s just how much, how big, and in what direction. The more people become educated, the more they change the world in a positive direction. And 7 Billion people have a massive amount of power to change the world.” ~Rob Stewart
Rob spawned hundreds of conservation groups, in addition to founding his own: United Conservationists and Fin Free.
Since Sharkwater released, more than 100 countries have banned shark finning and 41 countries have banned shark finning, fishing or the shark fin trade entirely.
Shark success stores of 2020:
26 tonnes of shark fins were seized in Hong Kong. U.S. law enforcement seized 6 tons of shark fins and shut down a decade long shark smuggling ring. Hawaii levied the highest fine for shark fin smuggling: $126,000 in fines, forfeiture of the vessel valued at $119,000 and seizure of $58,000 of fins.
Since Sharkwater and Rob’s death, Marine Protected Areas have increased by more than 23 million square kilometers.
Hotels, airlines, shipping companies have banned shark fins. Even China and Hong Kong have banned the soup at state functions.
But there’s more work to do. 150 Million sharks are still dying from finning each year. Shark populations have already dropped by more than 90% and these beautiful animals need our help before they become extinct.
Ocean acidification caused by climate change is the biggest challenge of our generation.
But as Rob said, we envision a brighter future, Earth can be paradise for us and for millions of other species—why not use the height of our intelligence, and the greatest evolution of humanity, to usher in something amazing. Don’t feel disillusioned! The challenge is calling out the best in us.”
Please share Rob’s message and let your friends know they can watch Sharkwater Extinction free worldwide on Amazon Prime and on Crave in Canada.
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“A rare gift to the oceans and the world. There was no one like Rob and his loss is profound. He has inspired a whole generation of young people, many of whom will go on and amplify Rob’s work. I’ve always said, no movement should be utterly dependent on one or two individuals, but of course it takes one or two charismatic individuals to start a movement in the first place, and Rob was it.” – DAVID SUZUKI
Rob Stewart Dec 28 1979 – Jan 31 2017
Biologist, Activist, Author, Filmmaker
Rob Stewart taught the world not to fear sharks, but to love them as he did. His films — Sharkwater, Revolution and Sharkwater Extinction—are global award-winners that have brought positive change for the oceans and sharks. Sharkwater inspired countries to ban shark finning. Hundreds of shark conservation groups were created. Shark fin soup has been banned at numerous restaurants and theme parks and the Chinese government no longer serves it at their banquets.
Revolution was the first feature film to alert the world to the catastrophic effects of Ocean Acidification from carbon emissions caused by burning fossil fuels.
Sharkwater Extinction launched the Shark Free movement. 150 million sharks continue to be killed each year, and not just for shark fin soup. Sharks are now in products for human consumption, including cosmetics. Footage from the film led the California Drift Net Ban.
Rob, we will miss you forever, but your mission continues through all of us.