Here’s how to Eat Sustainably in Miami

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Here’s how to Eat Sustainably in Miami

Date: Dec 15, 2019
Author: Dimarco Barea 82 No Comments

Where do Fish come From?

To keep up with our demand, industrial fishing fleets are operating multi-million dollar vessels equipped with complex and expensive sonars and global positioning systems (GPS) to quickly find large schools of fish.  They comb the seafloor with large trawling nets, deploy thousands of hooks down to 120 kilometers in depth, and scoop up tens of thousands of pounds of fish in massive nets 50 meters wide.  These days, the processing, packing, and freezing of seafood takes place on the water.  Once full, there are refrigerated vessels that can transport the frozen packaged fish back to shore while the processing ship stays out at sea.


We are eating the oceans dry of seafood and yet advances in technology continue to make it faster and easier for us to deplete these ocean resources.”

fishing ships midtown miami

Recent analyses of fish catches suggest that about 58% of the world’s fish stocks have now collapsed or are overexploited.  Within the course of a single generation, 49% of marine vertebrate populations have declined globally, largely as a result of overfishing and destructive fishing practices. The U.S. is actually a big success story in rebuilding fish stocks, notes Ray Hilborn, a marine biologist at the University of Washington.

The U.S. is actually a big success story in rebuilding fish stocks”

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is a fisheries certification and seafood labeling program that, with partners, promote sustainable fishing and transform markets.  Their ecolabeling program makes it easy for any consumer to play a part in securing a healthy future for our oceans. You’ve most likely seen MSC certified seafood at Whole Foods Markets and on Archer Farms products at Target.

Swordfish from Canada feature a label from the Marine Stewardship Council at a Whole Foods in Washington, D.C. Photo credit: NPR
Swordfish from Canada feature a label from the Marine Stewardship Council at a Whole Foods in Washington, D.C. Photo credit: NPR

Thanks to printable pocket guides and apps provided by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch Program it is easier for anyone to make better seafood choices for a healthy ocean.


Top Miami Seafood Restaurants:

Miami is known for its delicious seafood selection and they have some pretty competitive restaurants all around Midtown, The Grove, and Wynwood with a sustainable food conscious mind. So we decided to help you find the ones with the most ocean-friendly seafood dishes.


Sushi Maki

This popular sushi chain prides itself as the first and only sushi chain in the United States to earn MSC Certification.  Abe Ng, founder of Sushi Maki believes,

…as more restaurants and seafood purveyors see the value in buying and supporting local, we will see more menu items reflecting the bounty of seafood that surrounds us here in South Florida.”

Their current MSC Certified options include kanikama krab (surimi) and cold water lobster from a progressive sustainable fishery in Nova Scotia, Canada just to name a few.

The Spillover

The people behind LoKal, Kush, and Miami Brew Bus have brought local seafood to the table and the city’s first Cider and Mead bar to the village of Coconut Grove.  The Spillover specializes in sustainable seafood with Trigger Seafood reeling in line-caught and spear-caught fish daily and shellfish making its way from the Keys and Bahamas.


Chef Michael Lewis and general manager Steven Haigh crafted the concept of the wood-fired Asian barbecue spot in Wynwood with sustainability in mind.  Locally caught grouper and red snapper are served with micro herbs that decorated the dining room.  They are working to finish a full garden on site that will be fed nutrients and water from their Orca composter that turns food waste into water!  They give back to the Earth through their plant-a-tree project that donated 10,000 trees to be planted in West Africa. 

Garcia’s Seafood Grille & Fish Market

A Miami institution since 1966, most of Garcia’s seafood, including yellowtail snapper, spiny lobster and stone-crab claws, comes from its own fleet of fishing boats.

Area 31 in the Epic Hotel

Their name is drawn from Fishing Area 31, an international zone designated by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization as a sustainable fishery.  They use fish brought in by local fisherman for dishes such as the Ocean to Table fish selection which comes complete with six types of fresh catch and four different light sauces.

Ireland Steakhouse

Located in Weston, this steakhouse not only serves amazing steaks, but also sustainable seafood.  Complimented with seasonal produce, the “green” listed seafood comes from organic seafood farms in Florida and Texas.


No matter what restaurant you order seafood from, ask the question:

Do you sell sustainable seafood? By asking this simple but important question, you can help start the demand for, and ultimately supply of, fish that has been caught or farmed in sustainable ways. As Chef Allen Susser, a pioneer of South Florida’s Mango Gang, puts it,

If we care where it comes from, restaurants are going to ask where it comes from.”


Paola Espitia is a marine biologist who focuses on inspiring a “Blue Minded Society” in which we live mindful of our actions on the health of the oceans.  She is a Certified SCUBA Diver (aka mermaid) and knows a few tunes on the ukulele.  For Blue Mind inspiration, follow her on Ola’pi Creative’s Instagram and learn more at olapicreative.com.


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