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It goes without saying that the ocean is one of Hawaii’s biggest draws. The picturesque coastline provides a variety of recreational activities—surfing, swimming, whale watching, boating and fishing, to name just a few—and some of the most sought-after seafood (poke bowls, anyone?). Though there are seemingly endless ways to enjoy the ocean’s bounty, there is a limit to what it provides.

Unfortunately, many fish populations are on the brink of becoming extinct due to overfishing. According to the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program, nearly 90 percent of large fish have been removed from our oceans.

For that reason, renowned Honolulu chef Ed Kenney, of the Surfjack’s in-house restaurant Mahina & Sun’s, as well as Kaimuki’s famed Town, Kaimuki Superette and Mud Hen Water, has a mantra we could all benefit from: local first, organic whenever possible, with aloha always. 

Mahina & Sun's family style

Kenney is often credited as being the lead activist in the sustainable food program in Hawaii. You won’t find any imported fish at Kenney’s first Waikiki restaurant, Mahina & Sun’s, the only restaurant on Oahu certified by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program. The kitchen only serves up sustainably caught or farmed fish, therefore, guests can expect an ever-changing menu featuring the freshest ingredients, based on what’s available and in-season.

Popular dishes include Town Aku (skipjack tuna) Tartare, ‘Ahi Palaha (white tuna), A’u Ku (swordfish) and Mahina’s Family Feast—featuring mochiko fried whole deep sea snapper, Kualoa oysters and more—which is great for groups.

What’s more, Mahina & Sun’s operates without styrofoam and single-use plastic, landing it a spot on Surfrider Foundation’s top 100 Ocean-Friendly Restaurants in Hawaii.

Mahina & Sun's Ahi Palaha

So whether you’re dining out in Waikiki or cooking at home, knowing where your fish comes from is one way to help preserve the health of our oceans. Being conscious of the fish you eat and how much you’re eating it is a small step that can have big impacts. Thankfully, Hawaii’s abundance includes ahi tuna, opah, kampachi and more, so choosing local shouldn’t feel like a sacrifice.

For more information on sustainable seafood options, download the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Hawaii Consumer Guide, or ask for one the next time you’re at Mahina & Sun’s.

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