When it comes to seafood, Key West is known for having some of the freshest and most delicious options around. But with sustainability becoming an increasingly important issue, many people are questioning the impact that fishing practices have on the environment. Luckily, Key West is also making strides towards sustainable fishing practices, and one of the most prominent examples is their emphasis on yellowtail snapper.

What is Yellowtail Snapper?

Yellowtail snapper is a popular fish found in the waters around Key West. It’s a lean fish with a mild flavour and a firm, white flesh that’s perfect for grilling, frying, or baking. It’s also a relatively small fish, typically weighing between one and three pounds, which makes it easier to catch sustainably.

Sustainable Fishing Practices

As more people become aware of the impact that overfishing and destructive fishing practices can have on the environment, there has been a growing movement towards sustainable fishing. Key West is at the forefront of this movement, with many local fishermen and seafood businesses implementing sustainable practices to ensure the long-term health of the local fish populations.

One example of this is the use of circle hooks. Circle hooks are designed to minimise harm to the fish by hooking them in the lip instead of the throat or stomach, which reduces mortality rates and ensures that more fish are released back into the water unharmed.

The Yellowtail Snapper Industry in Key West

The yellowtail snapper industry is a vital part of Key West’s economy, with many local businesses relying on it for their livelihoods. However, there has been a shift towards more sustainable practices in recent years, with many fishermen and seafood companies recognising the importance of preserving the local fish populations for future generations.

One example of a business that is committed to sustainability is Eaton Street Seafood, a family-owned and operated seafood market in Key West. They source their yellowtail snapper from local fishermen who use sustainable fishing practices, and they even offer tips on how to cook the fish in an eco-friendly way.

Yellowtail Snapper Festivals

One of the most popular events in Key West’s seafood calendar is the Annual Key West Seafood Festival, which celebrates all things seafood in the area. This festival is a great opportunity to try a variety of dishes featuring yellowtail snapper, as well as other local seafood favourites.

In addition to the festival, there are also several other seafood events throughout the year that focus on sustainability, such as the Sustainable Seafood Dinner at the Westin Key West Resort and Marina. This event showcases local, sustainably sourced seafood and educates attendees about the importance of sustainable fishing practices.

How to Cook Yellowtail Snapper

Yellowtail snapper is a versatile fish that can be prepared in a variety of ways. One of the most popular methods is grilling, which brings out the fish’s natural sweetness and gives it a smoky flavour. Another popular option is pan-frying, which results in a crispy exterior and a moist, tender interior.

When cooking yellowtail snapper, it’s important to keep sustainability in mind. Choose recipes that use eco-friendly cooking methods, such as grilling or baking, and look for recipes that use locally sourced, sustainably caught fish.


In conclusion, Key West’s emphasis on sustainable fishing practices has made it a leader in the movement towards more eco-friendly seafood. Yellowtail snapper is just one example of the many delicious, sustainable seafood options that can be found in the area. So whether you’re a local or a visitor, be sure to support sustainable seafood practices and enjoy the fresh, flavourful fish that Key West has to offer.


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