Rob Stewart's family was present at a press conference today at Toronto City Hall to speak about a federal ban on shark finning -- including his parents Brian and Sandy Stewart, his sister Alexandra Stewart and his uncle and aunt, Randy and Gail Stewart. Brian Stewart spoke to the crowd about the important work their son did to preserve endangered sharks. Today's press conference was the Stewart family's first joint public appearance to discuss Rob Stewart's conservation work.
Although a bill was passed to ban the sale and consumption of shark fins in Toronto in September 2011, the ban was overturned in 2012.
Toronto Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam, who originally championed the ban in 2011 with Councillor Glenn De Baeremaeker, brought the motion in front of Toronto Council yesterday and both spoke at today's press conference, along with MP Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, all of whom are passionate about saving these endangered animals.
We also spoke to Kaley Fitzsimmon, who launched a petition to support the bill to ban the importation of shark fins. She told us she was moved by Rob's efforts to save sharks after watching Sharkwater and just days after she heard about Rob's tragic accident in Florida, she decided to launch the petition to honor his memory on change.org. Her original petition to Mayor John Tory has over 10,000 supporters. She has since launched another petition, this one directed towards the Canadian federal government. Click here to sign the petition to help save sharks.
You can find the petition along with more information about Rob Stewart's Sharkwater sequel and his conservation efforts at his Sharkwater website.
This afternoon, Toronto City Council will vote on a motion that calls on the City to support Bill S-238, "The Ban on Shark Fin Importation Act." We will post the results of the vote here. ~Alexandra Heilbron
Update: Councillors voted 38-4 for the motion by Kristyn Wong-Tam to support federal Bill S-238. Cheers rang out from the gallery where the Stewart family was seated. “We’re thrilled, and we know Rob would’ve been thrilled as well,” Sandy Stewart told The Toronto Star.