Archive for the ‘Action’ Category


Sharkwater and Revolution director Rob Stewart turns cameras on saving Bala (1 Comment)

rob-stewart-directorOn September 22, 2014 at the all-candidates meeting at the Bala Community Center in Bala, Ontario – all eyes turned to a controversial energy proposal threatening the town’s historic waterfalls. Parked outside of the meeting was a 45-foot motor home that unloaded Sharkwater (2007) and Revolution (2013) director Rob Stewart, a film crew with five cameramen, and a Canadian Police certified polygraph operator.

Canadian corporation Swift River Energy Limited is proposing a hydroelectric generating station be constructed at the famed and National Geographic award-winning Bala Falls.

“My friends and I grew up playing in these waterfalls and I couldn’t imagine Muskoka without them,” says Stewart. “A power plant here would degrade the heritage site, could kill innumerable fish and aquatic species, and affect Bala’s economy by degrading the town’s most beloved tourist destination.”

This energy project is part of the Ontario Government’s green energy policy – awarding energy contracts to private for-profit corporations that will sell the energy to Ontario Hydro. Energy produced by the plant will apparently be sold at 17 cents per kilowatt hour – a price far above current energy prices – meaning taxpayers will be subsidizing this energy production.

This proposal has caused outrage within the local community where 93 per cent of respondents to an independently conducted survey on the Cottage Country Now website, support Muskoka Lakes council’s efforts to continue to fight Swift River Energy on their hydro electric project in Bala. Another survey conducted by Protean Strategies found that 83 per cent of respondents answered “No” to the question, “Do you think the proposed power plant at Bala Falls should be built?”

Despite the public sentiment, some political candidates vocally support the project, which has become an election issue.

“The town is curious why those supporting the power plant are doing what they are doing,” said Bala resident and business owner Bill Purks. “I doubt my business that has been around since 1973 will be here if the power plant goes through.”

At the meeting, candidate for mayor Don Furniss and township councilor candidate Greg Knight were asked by filmmakers if they would take a lie detector test administered by a Canadian Police certified polygraph operator on the following statement: “Neither I, nor any of my family, businesses or affiliates stand to benefit from the proposed hydro power plant in Bala.” Both candidates agreed on camera to take the test after the meeting, but later refused.

There has also been concern about lawsuits being launched against opponents to the project, including a lawsuit against Mayor Alice Murphy.

Due to the significance of the land to First Nations, the federal and provincial governments and the corporation must consult with all potentially impacted First Nations. The Wahta Mohawks have not been consulted, according to Chief Philip Franks of the Wahta Mohawks community, and the plant would degrade the historically significant Bala Portage as the only water passage connecting the Muskokas to Georgian Bay and Lake Ontario.

“I am very concerned with the failure of various governments to involve our community in any or all discussions leading up to the decision to move forward with the development of this hydro-electric development without our full participation, under the Duty to Consult and Accommodate,” says Chief Wayne Pamajewon on behalf of Shawanaga First Nation.

A group of Bala townspeople have started a petition they believe will stop the powerplant (click here to sign the petition) and a letter writing campaign to inform the relevant politicians.

Stewart and his team are developing a film around the grassroots movement that’s opposing the power plant. “Its just the kind of story people need to hear,” said Stewart. “Everyone should know they have a powerful voice.”

Maldives bans shark fishing (8 Comments)

Just prior to a United Nations endangered species conference that begins this week, a government official has announced that Maldives, an island country in the Indian ocean, is banning shark fishing in its waters. “We’ve decided to go ahead with a shark fishing ban,” Ibrahim Didi, the fisheries and agriculture minister, told The New York Times. “Beginning July 1 there will be a total ban on exports.” Maldives is one of the world’s top scuba-diving destinations. Researchers from James Cook University in Australia last year estimated that a single gray reef shark was worth $3,300 a year to the Maldivian tourism industry, compared with the one-time value of $32 that a fisherman would get from the same shark. Didi said his government began planning the ban last year, but was delayed due to objections from fishermen, who were catching the sharks and killing them for their fins. Now, he says, “They understand that it isn’t a sustainable fishery.” The government is planning to provide the fishermen with financial support and retraining. The Maldivian waters are home to over 26 types of sharks, including the whale shark, tiger shark and hammerhead shark.

Bring Sharkwater to China!! (17 Comments)

This is Your Chance to Help Save Sharks!

Bring Sharkwater to China! Act Now!

Dear Friends,
It’s really important that you help us bring the award-winning documentary Sharkwater to China. China is the largest consumer and trader of shark fins in the world, fueling the growing demand for shark fin soup that is destroying our oceans within our lifetime.

Most Chinese consumers don’t know that shark fin soup contains shark, because the translation literally means “fish wing soup”. Shark populations have dropped more than 90% in 30 years, destroying the most important ecosystem for our own survival. Conservation isn’t just saving species and ecosystems, it’s saving humans.

This is a huge consumer awareness issue that we have the power to change. We urgently need your help to create a Chinese version of Sharkwater that will target an audience of over 300 million people. We can change the world, with your help.

WHAT YOU CAN DO:

Donate now to the non-profit foundation SAVE THE BLUE (savetheblue.org/donate) that is working with us and WildAid to bring Sharkwater to China & receive a special custom-made tribal shark pendant, shirt or bag!

Help Save Sharks!

Wear your special shark pendant with pride to engage people in making shark conservation an international priority!

It’s cool to save sharks!

Act now & donate to China

Thanks for helping us save sharks,

Rob Stewart and the Sharkwater Team

www.sharkwater.com

Fan Letter (25 Comments)

stop shark fining
Hello,

My name is Jessica. I am a Canadian Citizen living and working at a dive shop in Costa Rica. I saw your movie in Canada a couple of years ago while it was in theaters, and ever since then I have had a passion to help save the sharks, despite at the time never having seen one. Now that I work in a dive shop in Costa Rica (in Playas del Coco), I have contact with divers every single day, and I always always ask people ‘have you seen the movie Sharkwater’? I couldn’t believe how many people, divers, who have never even heard about it! These are the people we need to watch the movie! They are people who obviously care about the underwater environment, and they need to know what is happening to it. I endorse the movie every single day. I tell people ‘when you go home you have to watch this movie’. But it would be easier if I had some movies there to sell people. I don’t know if there is any way we could arrange buying a whole box of the movie so that I could tell ALL of my customers to buy it!

One day a man came into our shop just fuming mad, and he said he had went to a little fresh fish market place to buy some fish and they had at least 60 shark fins and a manta ray all chopped up. We have a huge painting on the side of our shop that says ‘stop shark fining’ so as he was passing by to go to the supermarket instead to buy fish, he stopped in to tell us about it, in hopes that we would know who to report to about it. We can’t do anything to report them with out proof. so we sent two of our workers to try to get pictures of it. Unfortunately after the man had made such a big fuss about it they had put most of it away. So when our workers got there there wasn’t much to take pictures of. I share this story with you so you can see that I live first hand every day. We see fishing boats out at our dive sites sometimes catching Octopus for example; and then we see none for about a week when we normally see tons! It is just appalling what massacre goes on out there all the time, and more people need to know about it, everyone needs to know about it.
I have made everyone I know in Canada watch the movie, now I need to get all the people who dive with us watch it.

I want to do everything I can to help, please let me know if you can help me get movies sent to my shop for me to sell to all the customers, or if there is anything else I can do to help save sharks.

Best Regards,
-Jessica

Rob on Carson Daily (25 Comments)

Check out Carson Daily on Feb 5 to watch the interview with Rob Stewart.
It’s filming in LA today – so hopefully it goes well!

Tiger Sharks with Jim Abernathy and Shark Angels (8 Comments)

Never thought I’d meet someone as passionate about sharks as I…… then I met Jim Abernathy. He’s spent more time underwater with big sharks than anyone else on earth. He just so happens to have the best large shark dive encounter in the world. I just came back from 5 days diving with him in the Bahamas with some 12 ft tiger sharks. Really fun. We were there shooting a special feature for the Sharkwater DVD, and a short film in it’s own right with the “Shark Angels” – 3 beautiful and talented women from Sea Shepherd (Kim McCoy), Save our Seas (Alison Kock), and Shark Savers (Julie Anderson).
visit sharkangels.com for more info.
The main goal was to show women diving with supposed “man eaters” in their natural environment to show that anyone can do what we did in Sharkwater, and to further the awareness so necessary to save our oceans.