It’s been six months since we lost Rob Stewart during a tragic diving accident off the coast of Florida. However, much has been accomplished in that time to further his goal of saving sharks and the planet.
Rob’s films have been seen worldwide, reaching over 100 million people, changing laws and government policy. Sharkwater: Extinction continues production, due for release in 2018, with film shoots in Indonesia, Alaska, Bimini, Florida and Cabo Verde and will next continue filming in Costa Rica and Malpelo.
In March, George Stroumboulopoulos announced at the Canadian Screen Awards that starting in 2018, the award for Best Science or Nature Documentary Program or Series will be in Rob Stewart’s name and will — in addition — include a gift of $25,000 each year for the next five years.
Later in March, tribute murals to Rob and Sharkwater were unveiled in Miami, Florida and Napier, New Zealand by PangeaSeed Foundation, whose mission it is to create meaningful environmental change for oceans. Both murals included a quote from Rob: “Conservation is the preservation of human life on planet earth, and that above all, is worth fighting for.” Toronto will unveil its wall in September 2017 through TIFF, where Sharkwater and Revolution both premiered.
April: Toronto Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam and MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith put forward a motion to support Bill S-238, “The Ban on Shark Fin Importation Act.” If passed, Bill S-238 will prohibit shark finning and ban the importation of shark fins harvested through finning across Canada.
June 8: The sawfish shark, in honor of Rob, received the most votes in a U.N. Ocean Conference survey, Wild for Life. His name and the shark were submitted by friend/actor/environmentalist Adrian Grenier in Rob’s honor.
June: Cruelty-free, vegetarian cosmetics brand Lush rereleased its limited-edition Shark Fin soap in celebration of World Oceans Day (June 8th) “to honor late environmentalist, eco-warrior and filmmaker, Rob Stewart.” The soap quickly sold out — it was another super successful campaign from Lush, who has supported many of Rob’s research projects.
June: The new environmental film Sea of Life by teenager Julia Barnes, inspired by Rob Stewart, was released online for digital download. The movie To the Orcas, With Love, currently in production, features commentary from Rob Stewart, along with other environmentalists and biologists.
July: During Shark Week, Discovery Channel’s Daily Planet aired a tribute to Rob with sneak peeks at his much-anticipated sequel Sharkwater: Extinction.
July 27: A former Japanese fishing vessel was christened the Sharkwater in Fort Lauderdale, Florida in honor of Rob Stewart. Sharkwater Extinction will be filmed from this boat — and will host many other conservationists, researchers and filmmakers around the world who are dedicated to saving these apex predators.
Upcoming: Tributes are planned in August in Saipan, where a Grade 6 class petitioned the governor to ban shark finning after they watched Sharkwater. Rob’s film Revolution featured the governor signing the bill.
Tributes to Rob and Sharkwater are planned in a marine reserve on Malpelo Island, Colombia.