Today: June 18, 2024

Sharkwater Extinction: The Life And Work Of Rob Stewart

Sharkwater Extinction is a  follow up to Rob Stewart’s first documentary film Sharkwater (2007) which  brought the devastating issue of shark finning to the world stage and is  credited with changing  laws and public policy worldwide as well as creating hundreds of conservation groups. Sharkwater and his second film Revolution (2012)  have been awarded more than 70 international awards and  viewed by over 125 million people. 

Sharkwater Extinction  is a thrilling and inspiring, action-packed journey that continues Rob’s courageous crusade to save the species from extinction as he and his team race at breakneck speed through the oceans and across four continents to investigate the corruption behind a multi-billion-dollar pirate fishing trade and massive illegal shark fin industry. Even though to date more than 90 countries have banned shark finning or the trade of shark products–due in no small part to the success of Sharkwater–Rob found that sharks are still being fished to extinction. 

100–150 million sharks are killed every year, including endangered species, and shark populations have dropped more than 90% in the last 40 years. Without our oceans’ main predator, marine ecosystems are being destroyed beyond repair, a condition which, if not reversed, will ultimately lead to the collapse of our global ecosystem and virtually all life on Earth. 

In January 2017, while shooting Sharkwater Extinction, Rob Stewart tragically passed away during a dive off the Florida activists of our time, with Leonardo DiCaprio saying at the time “[I am] saddened by the passing of Rob Stewart. The world has lost a man who dedicated his life to protecting our oceans and sharks. He’ll be missed,” while Virgin Group founder Richard Branson wrote in tribute that Rob “alerted myself and hundreds of thousands of other people to the wholesale slaughter of sharks and other species in the ocean.”

Rob risked everything in a tireless effort to educate, preserve and defend the oceans. His impact and sacrifice are beyond measure and the producers along with a talented group of filmmakers, editors and loyal Sharkwater supporters felt compelled to continue his work and ensure the film was completed. Award-winning editor Nick Hector was given the daunting task of sifting through Rob’s copious hours of footage and reams of detailed notes to create a final cut of Sharkwater Extinction, with his efforts supported by award-winning documentary filmmaker Sturla Gunnarsson who acted as a consultant to the team. “Rob spent his life defending the oceans and sharks—determined to change the world. We believe his work will continue to do so,” said Brian and Sandy Stewart. “Rob had a magical way of connecting with audiences and this film is one more step in his mission to inspire action in the important fight to protect this planet for generations to come. We are pleased that Sharkwater Extinction , like Rob’s previous films, will launch at TIFF before rolling out to audiences around the world.” 

The film will open in NYC; LA;  and San Diego, CA; Columbus, OH, and Miami, FL today with more theatrical screenings through the Spring.

Sharkwater Extinction was made possible with the financial support of Canada Media Fund, Ontario Media Development Corporation, Rogers Documentary Fund, Telefilm Canada and Prime Video. A Bell Media Original Documentary, the film was commissioned by The Movie Network (TMN) and Super Écran. D Films Corp is the film’s Canadian distributor.

Paula Hammond - Features Editor

Paula Hammond is a full-time, freelance journalist. She regularly writes for more magazines than is healthy and has over 25 books to her credit. When not frantically scribbling, she can be found indulging her passions for film, theatre, cult TV, sci-fi and real ale. If you should spot her in the pub, after five rounds rapid, she’ll be the one in the corner mumbling Ghostbusters quotes and waiting for the transporter to lock on to her signal… Email:

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