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Interview with Shark Conservationist Madison Stewart

“I´m a filmmaker, seeing as most of my work revolves around that. In reality, I´m a homeless high school drop out´, that loves sharks and tries to save them anyway I can.”
Photo by Perrin James

How would You describe Your work to a complete stranger ?

"You’re gonna laugh, - but I usually tell people I´m a ´”barista”

so I don’t have to explain it ! Haha, - I have no degree of qualification, so if I have to explain, I tell people I´m a filmmaker, seeing as most of my work revolves around that.

In reality, I´m a homeless high school drop out´, that loves sharks and tries to save them anyway I can."

Why have You chosen to fokus on Shark Conservation ?

“I have chosen sharks because when I started no one else had, and because I love them, they are my favourite animals. It´s always been them that have drawn my attention.”
Photo by Perrin James

How would You define Your mission ?

"My mission is to raise awareness and do whatever I can to prevent the total destruction of our sharks. It’s to change the way people see sharks and inspire them to change the world for the better."

What or Who inspires You ?

"The first people who saved the planet, - before conservation, inspire me. People like Rod Coronado, Valerie Taylor, etc. I am also inspired by documentaries and films."

Photo by Juan Medina

What do You hope to achieve ?

"I never really have a list of things I want to achieve. I´m happy to just make as much of a change to the world as I can without an end goal in mind, however for selfish reason I hope I can get my next documentary off the ground."

How do You experience peoples reaction to Your work ?

"When I get to inspire people it’s the best day ever!

When someone sends me a message, telling me what they’ve done or now know they can do because of me, - it’s a wonderful feeling.

Though I also get a bad side of this… a lot of people hate me for what I do and personally attack me."

Photo by Perrin James

Do You see Yourself as an Activist or Conservationist ?

"Both and none, I´m a firm believer that these terms should be normalized and everyone should be an activist and conservationist, ´-that it´s not something we just call certain people, but something we expect from everyone.

I would probably lean more towards activist, as some of the things I've done are quite forward and not always law biding."

What compels You about the Ocean ?

"It´s where I grew up, it´s home, it´s where my father brought me and he taught me it was what mattered."

Photo by Perrin James

Are You optimistic about the future for Sharks and the Ocean ?

“I am not right now, only because I know what we are seeing is already such a drastic decline of what the healthy ocean once was. But I´m hopeful for the power of humans to fight against the things destroying the planet”

Has Your approach to Shark conservation changed over the years ?

“Yes it really has, it´s got a lot more compassion now…

I never ever thought I´d talk to shark fishermen and now I work with them and call them friends. I also spend less time trying to change government and policies, - and more time trying to inspire the public to do so. I’ve learnt that doing things for the right reasons with your heart in the right place is the only way to do them.”

Photo by Juan Medina

What advise do You wish to give the readers of Oceans Daily Magazine ?

“You can make a difference, in Your every day life, in everything You do. I do what I do so I can inspire You… So please, become empowered and passionate and make tiny changes in Your everyday life that can help Sharks and help the Ocean!”

Interview conducted by Blue Reporter, Naja Bertolt Jensen


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