Aquarium of the Bay Reveals the Mysteries of San Francisco Bay

San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay has transitioned from a for-profit organization to a leading non-profit group responsible for bringing key stakeholders together in the interest of educating and empowering citizens. Informal science education now drives everything the Aquarium does, including connecting visitors to the many different species of sharks that make San Francisco Bay home. Mostly though, the Aquarium is educating kids to become strong stewards of San Francisco Bay’s marine ecosystem.

Aquarium of the Bay and the Bay Institute

Listen as Brian Baird, Director of Ocean and Coastal Programs at San Francisco’s Bay Institute, discusses the evolution of California’s ocean conservation policy including Governor Arnold’s initiative to form an action plan on the ocean, it’s connection to the marine sanctuary initiative later enacted by President George Bush, and ultimately, led to marine protection areas. Protection Areas that now include 16.5% of California’s 1,100 miles of coastline reaching out three nautical miles. With 9% of California’s coastal waters being completely off limits to all forms of fishing is intended to ensure non-migratory fish species are able to regain and maintain healthy populations. Brian explains how public pressure, science and economics supported the legislation that formed these MPAs, but the goal is to ensure we all have access to fish to catch and observe now and in the future.

Aquarium of the Bay and Sustainability

Keeping a world-class public aquarium facility sustainable involves numerous aspects beyond making sure the over 20,000 animals inside the aquarium are receiving sustainably harvested food that totals 100,000 pounds yearly. Water handling, power consumption, and waste management are all part of the sustainable approach to running aquariums. But, this aquarium thinks outside the tank too, and is playing a leadership role to ensure all of San Francisco consumes fish sustainably by following the Seafood Watch Program.