When Sarah Curry’s crew documented his lobster fishing for one night in November, ‘It was the perfect night for bully netting,’ said Jesse Hayes. SEREIA FILMS/Contributed

Award-winning environmental journalist and sustainable seafood advocate Sarah Curry has screened her documentaries at film festivals around the world and on PBS. Her nonprofit film production company has zeroed in on topics from fish markets in Hong Kong to king mackerel fishing in Louisiana. 

And now, she is setting her sights on the Florida Keys, with a still-in-the-works documentary about the local commercial lobster fishing industry and a screening of short films, co-presented by Surfrider Foundation Florida Keys, that will take place Friday, Dec. 9, from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Angler House Marina in Islamorada.

But like many of us in the Keys, Miami-based Curry is simply stoked to have a great night on the water. 

“We had such a blast,” she told Keys Weekly about a November night tagging along with commercial fisherman Jesse Hayes. Curry and her camera crew filmed him bully netting for lobster. 

“I thought it was a cool story to tell. I didn’t know bully netting was done commercially. And it was a beautiful night. You could see how passionate he was.”

“It was the perfect night for bully netting,” said Hayes. “The water was deep, there was zero wind and great visibility — and the lobsters were everywhere. I love what I do and to share that with people is really special. I think her mission with educational documentaries is awesome. I’m glad someone is stepping up to do this. Who knows? In 20 years, my occupation may not exist any more.”

Curry is the founder and executive director of Sereia Films (pronounced “Ser-ay-uhh,” it’s the Portuguese word for “mermaid”). The nonprofit combines her two passions: sustainable seafood and documentary filmmaking. 

‘We had such a blast,’ filmmaker Sarah Curry told Keys Weekly about tagging along with commercial fisherman Jesse Hayes. ‘You could see how passionate he was.’ SEREIA FILMS/Contributed

After earning an undergraduate degree in marine science from Louisiana State University, she spent time on commercial boats that were fishing for cod and haddock out of New Bedford, Massachusetts. From this experience, she realized how much humans affect the environment, and she was motivated to pursue a master’s in environmental journalism from University of Colorado-Boulder, with a focus on making documentaries. 

Curry is still filming the documentary about Keys lobster fishing and intends to have a screening of it locally once she is finished with the editing. For now, she is proud to co-present, along with Surfrider Foundation Florida Keys, “Ocean to Everglades: Stories of the Sea,” this Friday from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at Islamorada’s Angler House Marina at MM 80. Per Surfriders’ website, the gathering is “a night of film screenings and discussion on sustainable seafood in Florida and the ocean livelihoods that depend on it.” 

Sarah Curry, the founder and executive director of Sereia Films, is making a documentary about commercial lobster fishing in the Florida Keys. SEREIA FILMS/Contributed
The films are by Curry’s Sereia Films and The Ocean Conservancy, and the panel discussion will feature guests from the conservancy, local commercial fisherman and scientists. Topics will include Florida fish farms and a chef who is dedicated to reducing fish waste.

“We need to start paying attention to what we’re eating. We import so much salmon, shrimp and tuna,” she said, explaining that Florida shellfish and a Homestead salmon farm can provide sustainable sources for food that are just as delicious.

And she has a message for readers: “Thank a fisherman or a fish farmer,” she said. “They’re producing food for us, and it’s hard work.”

Charlotte Twine fled her New York City corporate publishing life and happily moved to the Keys six years ago. She has written for Travel + Leisure, Allure, and Offshore magazines;; and the Florida Keys Free Press. She loves her two elderly Pomeranians, writing stories that uplift and inspire, making children laugh, the color pink, tattoos, Johnny Cash, and her husband. Though not necessarily in that order.