I'm heading down to the Keys this weekend on a regional-food excursion for a website I'm creating, and I'm struggling with conch, because every single ocean-friendly seafood guide (like that from Monterey Bay Aquarium) puts it on the "avoid" list for being overfished/vulnerable. It's such a regionally popular ingredient that I'm inclined to feature it on the website, but by doing that, I'm recommending that others eat it--thus my moral conundrum.
The perfect solution would be to find restaurants that source from sustainable conch farms like that on Turks & Caicos, but the trouble is, most of the restaurants I'm calling aren't really sure where their conch comes from, or they just tell me, "The Caribbean." (One response: "A farm? Oh, no, ours is from the ocean.")
My best lead so far is The Wharf Bar & Grill on Summerland Key, which uses farmed conch but only offers it on the menu in a chowder. I plan on asking around at each of the places I visit this weekend, and will report back, but I thought I'd poll the local experts in the meantime. Does anyone have any leads on where in the Keys I might find fritters or conch salad from sustainable/farmed conch?
Wharf Bar & Grill
25163 Overseas Hwy, Summerland Key, FL 33042