Throughout September, Salmon Month at San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay is presenting special programs designed to educate consumers about ending ongoing threats against the popular fish.
The activities are sponsored by SalmonAID, a group whose members include commercial and sport fishing organizations, Native American tribes and conservationists.
“We want to get across the rich tradition of Pacific salmon in our culture, and this is an ideal way of doing so,” says Jon Rosenfeld, the president of SalmonAID and a Bay Institute biologist.
Kati Schmidt, public relations manager at the aquarium, says the programs’ focus is to emphasize the importance of ensuring the long-term vitality of wild salmon populations, at least in part by eating wild salmon and avoiding ecologically unsound farmed salmon.
According to SalmonAID, by selecting wild salmon at stores and restaurants, consumers use the power of the marketplace to help wild salmon stocks recover.
On Friday, author and fisherman Bill Carter will screen a short film about commercial fishing in Alaska and read from his memoir, “Red Summer,” which describes the extreme physical and mental exhaustion involved in harvesting wild salmon.
Saturday and Sunday offer screenings of pertinent films from the Wild and Scenic Environmental Film Festival.
The Salmon Cinema and Storytelling Circle program is Sept. 15, and features screenings of “SalmonsKin,” “Echo of Water Against Rocks,” “Farmed Salmon Exposed,” “Red Gold” and “Upstream Battle” — films that address the wild salmon crisis and describe opportunities for restoration.
The event, which is geared toward adults and costs $15, also features indigenous leaders from California’s Hoopa and Maidu Indian tribes telling stories, both traditional salmon lore and tales of modern-day healing and collaboration for recovery.
Sept. 18 and 19 are family days, with interactive salmon-themed activities for kids.
The free SalmonAID Music Festival on Pier 39 closes out the programming Sept. 26.
Rosenfield emphasizes connections between the fate of the environment and the way people manage their lives.
“Everyone can take on this cause and demand change,” he says. “It’s important that people vote with their fork and their dollar every time they go to a restaurant.”
In addition to reducing water use and supporting local farmers, another easy way to make a difference is to inquire about sustainable seafood when grocery shopping or dining out.
“There is nothing more powerful than an informed consumer,” says Kenny Belov, SalmonAID board member and owner of Fish, a Sausalito restaurant serving only wild-caught seafood. “By asking questions or telling chefs they won’t order farm-raised fish, people will eventually stop selling it.”
If you go
<p>Where: Aquarium of the Bay, The Embarcadero and Beach Street, San Francisco
When: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays-Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Fridays-Sundays
Admission: $16.95 general, $8 seniors and children
Contact: (415) 623-5300, www.aquariumofthebay.org, www.salmonaid.org