I went with Belle last night to watch Rob Stewart’s posthumous film on the plight of sharks the world over. “Sharkwater Extinction” is one of those signature documentaries that says a lot simply by telling a compelling story filled with intrigue, color, character and message. I enjoyed watching it for what it had to say about how large corporations manage to avoid international bans in their mad rush to get shark parts, especially fins, to market. It is both lucrative and crazy dangerous trade that not only endangers future shark numbers but human life, with the introduction of very toxic shark meat to the food chain. Unappreciated by many Asians, the numerous variety of sharks are beautiful creatures who perform a critical role as nature’s top marine predator in keeping the oceans relatively habitable. This is a black market industry that depends on small fishers, along with big factory ships, hanging out in key nursing grounds, looking for the big catch. As for Stewart’s death, it might be reasonable to suspect, given a failed rebreather, in suggesting foul play. After all, the man was constantly apprehensive of an imminent demise, given all the opposition he encountered in his campaign to shut down an illicit industry. This film rendered a very authentic portrayal of a very passionate, highly intelligent, and somewhat fearless young Canadian set on making a difference for good. I thought I caught a glimpse of Paul Watson, of Sea Shepherd fame, in one of the opening shots. This radical environmental activist, from the seventies, would seem an ideal mentor for Stewart’s cause: saving endangered sharks probably has the same inspiring ring as saving the whales. Both represent strategies that are high risk and meant to confront.It was probably him because his organization was likely behind Stewart’s eco-efforts. With a sequel coming out in 2019, it is quite likely this idealistic photographer will be seen as a martyr for the cause.