Documentary highlighting Bristol Bay's salmon run opened at the Palm Springs International Film Fest Wednesday.
A documentary film highlighting Bristol Bay’s salmon run had its North American premier Wednesday at the Palm Springs International Film Festival. KDLG’s Dave Bendinger has more:
The Breach, a film by director Mark Titus, contrasts the success of Bristol’s Bay’s sustainable run of wild salmon with other salmon runs that have since failed.
Those who have seen the film compare it to the popular book King of Fish by David Montgomery, which looks at some of the factors that have led to failures in other salmon runs. Titus takes the viewer through some of those other salmon runs before coming to Bristol Bay, which the film says is the last place humans have a chance to get things right.
Dillingham drift net fisherman Katherine Carscallen is the sustainability director of the Bristol Bay Regional Seafood Development Association, which is helping fund the film’s rollout around the country. Carscallen and other RSDA members were able to see an early screening of the film, which she says isn’t all doom and gloom:
"I won't give too much away, but coming out of it you really leave with the understanding that it's ok to eat salmon even though there are salmon shortages and problems across the East Coast and the Pacific Northwest," said Carscallen. "The majority of salmon available in the US is coming from Bristol Bay and Alaska where management is still good and habitat is still intact. The way to keep that intact is to keep eating salmon and be making sure it's wild, and making sure it's coming from Bristol Bay."
And that’s why the RSDA chose to get involved with this project. Many associate BBRSDA with sustainability issues, namely the fight against Pebble, but the organization is aiming to put more effort into marketing the sustainable, quality product coming out of the Bay. Carscallen says a film like The Breach can help do both:
"You know raising awareness about the sustainability of Bristol Bay has gotten a lot of restaurants, chefs, and consumers who like to eat salmon involved in our issues. Now I think they have the realization that if you want to protect Bristol Bay salmon, eating it, and getting it out there on people's plates is absolutely the best way to make people care about protecting it too. Those two purposes kind of feed into each other, and that's where The Breach serves a good overlap."
The Breach already won the Best International Feature Documentary award at the 2014 Galway Film Festival. It will be shown this week in Palm Springs, CA, and around the country at film festivals over the coming months.