30 June, 2016
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The film that aims to change our perception

Sharks are crucial to the delicate balance of our ecosystem, and it is important to raise awareness of their plight, and do what we can to save these misunderstood creatures.
Find out how you can help make Sharkwater: Extinction a reality, and be part of the growing movement for better protection of our oceans and their vitally important inhabitants, at the Sharkwater: Extinction Kickstarter campaign – on until 21 July.
150 million sharks are killed every year, and only 70 million are accounted for.
Sharks have been on earth for 450 million years. The media has portrayed them as dangerous predators and a threat to humans, through news of shark attacks and films such as Stephen Spielberg’s Jaws. Yet the reality is that these kings of the ocean are completely uninterested in attacking human beings unprovoked. To paint the contrast, the entire US averages just 19 shark attacks each year (with one shark-attack fatality every two years). Meanwhile, in the coastal U.S. states alone, lightning strikes and kills more than 37 people each year.
Rob Stewart, a filmmaker and shark-enthusiast, sought to change public perception through his multi-award-winning, world-renowned documentary – Sharkwater. In his documentary, he shows sharks as beautiful creatures, and reminds us of the devastation humans have caused to them in just a few short decades.
Shark populations have declined rapidly in the past four decades, with a number of species driven nearly to extinction. Why does this matter so much? Aside from being unsustainable in terms of food supply, as well as the issue of cruelty when it comes to finning practices, there’s a much larger issue at stake. The complete extinction of these animals, that have been around since the prehistoric age, could lead to catastrophic ecological and environmental outcomes. Sharks help regulate the consumption of plankton by other fish, which in turns moderates oxygen production and climate change.
Rob’s first film exposed the corruption involved in the shark fin trade, and how the increasing demand for shark fin in Asia has contributed to the illegal, and massively unsustainable, trading of shark products. As a result of the film, numerous conservation groups were formed, government policies were changed and many restaurants, hotels, shipping companies, and even whole municipalities and countries of the world have banned shark fin trade or consumption.
However, unbeknownst to many, the use of shark in products in the products of our daily lives such as cosmetics, pet feed, and even our own food, is still prevalent in many countries. And while awareness has grown exponentially, there is still much, much more to be done to save these majestic species on the brink of destruction.
Thus, Rob recently announced plans for a brand-new film, Sharkwater: Extinction, to expose the industries that make use of these endangered species, raise public awareness, and help to spawn widespread, permanent change.
In the new documentary, Rob goes on a quest to find the 80 million sharks that are ‘unaccounted for’. The journey takes him to eight difference countries and into the heart of the pirate fishing industry, where it all happens. He hopes to be able to expose the illegal fishing trade, and the secrets behind industries that continue to put sharks at risk, but fly below the radar – including cosmetic companies and food manufacturers.
Based on the worldwide success of Rob Stewart’s two prior documentaries (he also produced Revolution in 2012), we can already anticipate a spectacular feast for the senses and a hard-hitting, inspiring look at the reality of the shark trade world and the incredible people and organisations working to make things right. 

By: Ecozine Staff


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