Earlier this summer, Brian and Sandra Stewart of the Rob Stewart Sharkwater Foundation, and owners of long standing member company Tribute Entertainment Media Group, presented to the ICCR Steering Committee, Government, Industry and other stakeholders at ICCR-13 in Montreal in July. The Stewarts provided an overview of the amazing work of their late son Rob Stewart (1979-2017), an award-winning biologist, photographer, conservationist, author and filmmaker, to save sharks that are on the brink of extinction. Rob was unfortunately lost in a tragic and much publicized diving accident off the coast of Florida in 2017.
The presentation was warmly received and as a result the Stewarts were invited by Independent Cosmetic Manufacturers and Distributors (ICMAD) to present at their July 2019 Indie Beauty Innovators Awards in Las Vegas where they received strong support and a standing ovation after their presentation. The Stewarts continue to develop strong relationships within the industry and to educate on the negative impacts of using shark ingredients in cosmetics.
Millions of sharks are hunted and killed each year for their fins, meat, and even their livers. Shark livers contain an oil known as squalene. High in fatty acids and antioxidants, it is used as a moisturizing agent. While squalene can be sourced from shark livers, it can also be extracted sustainably from wheat germ and other plants. It is estimated that as much as 90% of shark squalene may be entering the ingredient supply chain for cosmetics. By bringing attention to this issue, the Stewarts re hoping to have manufactures check their supply chains to ensure their suppliers are only sourcing squalene from sustainable sources and not shark livers.
The issues discussed with the Stewarts raise the larger question of the use of endangered species (animal or plant) in our society in general. For more information, go to www.sharkwater.com and check out Rob’s award-winning epic films Sharkwater and Sharkwater: Extinction.