Passionate young conservationist and shark advocate
Madison Stewart is a young woman with an unusual passion - a passion for a creature of the deep that normally strikes fear in the hearts of most people. Madi has a passion for the ocean and in particular for the sharks that shared her childhood.
Madi lived on a yacht in the Great Barrier Reef when she was two and grew up free diving. When she was 14, she left school to begin home schooling with her father, also an avid shark lover and dive master.
Now 18 years old, Madi has logged over 450 dives, mostly with sharks. She has seen tiger sharks, been cage less with a great white, silver tips, silkys, caribbean reefies, grey reef, back tip, white tip, leopard, and many more incredible species of the sea.
While growing up, Madi saw firsthand how shark fishing had threatened the environment she loved. She noticed a decline in the number and type of sharks as a result of the catches legally taken each year by professional fishermen (600 tons, equal to 78,000 sharks). Horrified at the destruction, she resolved to do something about it. At the same time, she wanted to get rid the fear of sharks that is contributing to their demise.
Trading in her school fees for an underwater camera system, Madi became an underwater filmmaker to show the world what is about to be destroyed. She uses her camera and her talks as tools to bring her fight for the Great Barrier Reef and the safety of sharks that inhabit it to the general public's awareness -with the goal of obtaining government intervention.
Since then, her footage has been used by a number of conservation societies, she has visited schools to teach children about sharks, and her films have been seen in Australia and overseas and changed the way many people think about sharks.
Madi talks about some of her shark encounters, how fishing is managed and its effect on Australia's shark population, shark finning, and the 'Jaws' mentality of sharks.
Madi came to SS because she saw first hand the plight of the Oceans and her beloved sharks. She backs her walk and talk with actual footage of her experience with these magnificent creations. People most times are amazed at what they hear about the often demonized and misunderstood sharks. After hearing and seeing Madi's stories I had a totally different perception of the shark and shocked at the rate of dwindling population. Madi speeches are informative of this present disgraceful situation of the shark.