Wednesday, April 8, 2015

5 Questions With Shark Stanley: Rob Stewart

Rob Stewart and Shark Stanley
As we prepare for the global launch of The Adventures of Shark Stanley and Friends tomorrow, I thought I'd introduce you to our next Shark Ambassador, Rob Stewart.  Do we really need to introduce who he is?  You're reading a shark blog right now.  Everyone in the shark world knows Rob, right?

Rob Stewart is an award winning wildlife photographer, filmmaker, conservationist and educator from Canada. Rob studied biology and photography at schools in Jamaica, Kenya, Ontario and New York. Stewart produced, directed and starred in the award-winning film, Sharkwater. His photography and cinematography has appeared in media around the world including BBC Wildlife, Discovery Channel, ABC, Asian Diver, and Entertainment Tonight.

We've had to good fortune to work with Rob for several years now.  He was instrumental in passing the shark fin trade bans in Saipan and Guam and is now helping out in the Turks & Caicos Islands.

We ask our Shark Ambassadors the same set of five questions.  Here's what Rob had to say:

Why are sharks important to you?
Sharks are important to me because as a child they fascinated me. They were like dragons but they were real. As I learned more about them, I understood their significance to life on earth, and to our survival as a species. They're part of the framework for life in the oceans, upon which we depend on for survival.

How are we going to save the world’s sharks?
Education is paramount. When people understand a problem, their morals and feelings engage, they make better decisions and hold their friends and families accountable for the same decisions. Once people understand the problem, some of those will take on the challenge of doing something about it in a bigger way - getting shark fin banned, creating shark sanctuaries, and working on decreasing the demand for shark products.

How are you working to protect sharks?
I'm trying to empower humanity to be the best it can be to tackle this challenge, and others threatening our world. I work with an open source conservation campaign called Fin Free - that provides tools to any group or individual working on shark fin bans; I'm on the boards of a few great shark conservation charities, and try to use my media to bolster any shark conservation campaign that could use it.

Lots of people look up to you, who are your conservation heroes?
Martin Luther King Jr, David Suzuki, Paul Watson, Bob Marley, and Fela Kuti.

What advice would you give to young filmmakers?
Take the first step, don't be afraid. Lean in. By working for good, for life, or for conservation, your task will call out the best in you. There has never been a better time to be a filmmaker or conservationist and the world has never needed you more.
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