I just saw the most awesome documentary ever, titled SHARKWATER, on the beach in Waikiki . The director, Rob Stewart, asked me to come to the showing and I’m so glad he did. The film opened my eyes to the plight of our sharks and what mankind is doing to these misunderstood creatures.
ranted I wouldn’t want to be in waters with sharks (unless it was in the South Pacific where sharks are gentle and the Polynesians swim with them). But to see extensive footage of sharks being pulled on to poacher’s boats, their fins cut away and then dumped back into the ocean while alive is abnormally cruel. The filmmaker says that poachers hunt for shark fins because it’s a very lucrative business – some billion dollars worth. Shark fin soup is a delicatessen in China and is consumed on special days like weddings. That’s why it’s so hard to get the fishermen to stop. It’s also why it’s so hard to get the government to enforce rules and set quotas.
The underwater footage also done by Stewart is spectacular and beautiful, unless it’s of the butchering of sharks, then it’s horrific and sad. Steward estimates that we’re losing hundreds and thousands of sharks per year unless we put a stop to it. If the sharks become instinct then what adverse effect will it have on our ecosystem?
There’s cool footage of Stewart swimming in ocean with a shark and he pets and plays with it. There’s also beautiful shots of the Whale sharks, which can reach 50 feet in length and are thus the largest fish in the ocean. These gentle giants eat only plankton but they too are being targeted by poachers. And there are tons of the awkward looking hammerheads.
Stewart fell in love with sharks from when he was a little boy. In the documentary, he debunks the myth of the shark as being mindless, dangerous predators that eat human. A lot of times, the sharks mistake humans – if they happen be on a surfboard – for turtles and will bite to see what it is.
In addition to the shark footage, Stewart tried to fit in his adventures with the Sea Shepherd organization and world renowned conservationist Paul Watson with the rest of the film. While still fascinating, those parts – confronting shark-fishing boat off Guatemala – felt like a different movie.
I really admire the filmmaker for the sacrifice and dedication he put into this. Stewart spent four years making this documentary. He was an underwater photographer before embarking on this project. This Canadian native was going to do an underwater film about the sharks when he encountered all this human drama – shark poaching, Taiwanese mafia connection, charges of attempted murder from the Costa Rican government. But I’m glad he did. Then we wouldn’t have this incredible documentary about one man’s journey to save a creature he loves – the shark.
To see where this film will play next, Check the official site.
Moon Yun signing out.