A terrible week gets even worse for SF’s Aquarium of the Bay and its parent nonprofit Bay.org, as the aquarium just lost its accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums, amidst an almost-daily array of other scandals for the nonprofit.

The Chronicle has been on a feeding frenzy this week reeling in scandals coming from the Aquarium of the Bay in Fisherman's Wharf, its sister environmental advocacy group the Bay Institute, and both organizations’ parent nonprofit Bay.org.

On Monday, the paper broke the news that nearly the whole staff of the Bay Institute had resigned en masse in protest over their work being published by Bay.org without the authors' consent, updates they had asked for, or scientific peer review they felt was necessary. Then Thursday, the paper reported that Bay.org had ousted its CEO George Jacob for spending more than $700,000 on luxury travel in 2023 alone, including some “environmental” concert in Dubai featuring Stewart Copeland of The Police, all while staff “reported receiving daily calls from collection agencies” over the organization’s bills being in arrears.        

Now on Friday, the Chronicle is additionally reporting that the Aquarium of the Bay has lost its accreditation with the Association of Zoos and Aquariums. The accreditation was reportedly stripped because of deteriorating equipment, inadequate regulation of water temperatures for the animals, and staff concerns that some 30% of the animals needed to be sent elsewhere because of the poor conditions.

“Despite multiple opportunities to comply with the requests of the (accreditation) commission to provide sufficient evidence of progress made to address the areas of concern as required by the terms of their 2023 accreditation, the Aquarium of the Bay failed to do so,” Association of Zoos and Aquariums president and CEO Dan Ashe said in a statement to the Chronicle.

Ashe also noted that the aquarium could appeal the decision, and could also reapply for accreditation next year.  

The Bay.org board, which seems caught flat-footed by all this, said they were made aware of the loss of accreditation this week. New board chair Jon Fisher, who was brought on not even four months ago, told the Chronicle that “This is really the face of what I believe to be gross mismanagement.” Fisher also insists that he authorized immediate repairs to equipment.  

And it seems clear that most of the ex-CEO’s George Jacob’s out-of-whack spending came under the previous board chairperson. Very interestingly, that previous board chairperson would have been Ben Bleiman, owner of Tonic Nightlife Group (which operates Teeth and most recently Harrington's Bar & Grill). Bleiman is also the founder of the SF Bar Owner Alliance, and currently president of City Hall’s SF Entertainment Commission.

Despite its losing accreditation, the Aquarium of the Bay will remain open and operations will not be affected for the coming summer tourism season. But at the rate we’re learning of new scandals, one has to wonder if the whole operation could end up sinking.

Related: Bay Institute and Aquarium of the Bay Scandal Explodes, CEO Resigns Amidst Reports of Extravagant Spending [SFist]

Image via Yelp