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TORONTO – Filmmaker Rob Stewart joins the global call to free Paul Watson, the founder of Sea Shepherd, after German officials decided to extradite him to Costa Rica. Stewart has now released video evidence from his documentary Sharkwater to prove Watson’s innocence.
Captain Paul Watson was arrested in Germany, May 12, 2012 for an international warrant for his arrest. The arrest is based on allegations of violating “ships traffic” in Guatemalan waters, after a clash in 2002 between fishermen on the ship Varadero who were illegally poaching sharks and the Sea Shepherd crew intercepting. The incident resulted in the fishermen accusing Captain Watson of attempted murder.
The event took place during the filming of Rob Stewart’s award-winning documentary Sharkwater, released in 2007. Sharkwater is credited with legislation banning the ownership and sale of shark fins in California, Hawaii, Oregon, Guam, Saipan and many other regions. Stewart says his film disproves the accusations; a released clip of the incident is made available here (credit Sharkwater).
“It was an accidental collision,” said Toronto filmmaker Rob Stewart, who witnessed the altercation. “There was no attempt to harm any human life. However, the arrest of Paul Watson shows that there is a bigger problem afoot, that after ten years sharks continue to be unprotected.”
Shark finning is an often illegal-practice, whereby sharks are killed for their fins, the key ingredient in shark fin soup, a popular dish in the Asian market. In just a few decades, some shark populations have declined by over 95 per cent, and their populations continue to plummet.
“This is a great injustice, as sharks play a vital role to the health of our marine ecosystems,” said Stewart. “That is why I founded United Conservationists, a collaborative global response to sustain the ecosystems we depend on. If the sharks and humans are to survive the challenges ahead, we must build a global movement,” said Stewart.
Stewart is currently editing his new movie, Revolution, which features the issue of shark finning as well as many other critical environmental issues.
Media Clips: To view Sharkwater on iTunes: http://vimeo.com/42171668
Photo Gallery: http://www.sharkwater.com/gallery.htm
Media Clips: Vimeo*
Photo Gallery: Sharkwater.com