"Sharkwater": Making the Anti-Jaws - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

"Sharkwater": Making the Anti-Jaws

By: Rachel Leigh

"The situation in the ocean looks pretty grim. Ninety percent of all large predators in the ocean are gone. We waste 54 billion pounds of fish each year. Eight million people die of starvation, and we would need six planet earths to sustain life based on the resources we are using."

Rob Stewart, the director and star of the award-winning documentary "Sharkwater", developed a passion for sharks at a very young age. First frightened by this underwater predator, he discovered they are actually very afraid of humans. He then set out on a mission: To change people's views on sharks.

"Sharkwater is a film that tries to give people a different impression of sharks. But also try to unite them with a different view of the natural world. We depend on the oceans for survival. So if we wipe out the top predator and the most important ecosystem on the planet, that's going to be a big problem for us."

Ninety percent of the world's shark population is gone. One hundred million are killed each year by what's called 'shark finning'.

"People around the world are catching sharks on for their fins. Where they pull the sharks out of the water, cut off their fins, and throw the rest of the their body back which wastes 95 percent of the animal."

If you think swimming with the sharks was the scariest part of making "Sharkwater", you'd be wrong.

"I got lost in the Pacific for nearly a half a day. Thought I was going to float to my death. We got shot at; we got chased by the mafia. You know, we were running from different countries. I got flesh-eating disease in my leg, and they thought they were going to have to amputate my leg. I had dengue fever, West Nile virus and tuberculosis all at the same time. 'Sharkwater' nearly killed me."

Making the interaction with the sharks a nice relief.

"Petting a shark is actually is quite a cool experience. It was really important to us to show a totally new relationship with sharks in 'Sharkwater', so we could flip the 'Jaws' based perception on its head."

And, here's what Rob has to say to this fellow film director.

"I'd tell Steven Spielberg he should own up to the fact that he's contributing to the demise of shark populations around the world. 'Jaws' united people with a totally incorrect view of sharks, and because of that, the world's been blinded to the fact threat they're being wiped out."

Now, Rob is calling us to remove the blindfolds before the shark population is completely wiped out. Do your part by visiting savingsharks.com.

"Sharkwater" is now playing exclusively in Florida. It goes nationwide November 11.

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