What fish are safe to eat?

By | May 6, 2012

What fish are safe to eatThere is a lot of confusion about eating fish. Should we eat it or shouldn’t we? Well, the good thing about fish is that they are rich in many vitamins and minerals that we need, particularly Omega-3 oils, which are vital to good health and hard to get in a standard diet. The thing to really beware of is what fish brings along with it, particularly mercury. Mercury is not good for us and in large enough amounts, can cause serious health issues. So, what do you do – avoid fish or eat fish? Well, the answer is yes. You should really try hard to avoid certain fish and you should try hard to get other fish into your diet. Hopefully, the rest of this article will help you understand which fish are safe and which ones are not as safe to eat. Be sure to pay attention to how often the fish in each category should be eaten. Certain fish should be avoided all the time, some fish should not be eaten very frequently, and certain fish should be eaten frequently.

Note: Guidelines have been released on the amount of fish children and pregnant women should eat. Before getting into a fish diet, research this if either applies to you or those for whom you cook and consult your healthcare provider.

Fish with Highest Mercury

AVOID Eating

  • Mackerel (king)
  • Marlin
  • Orange roughy
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish
  • Tuna (bigeye, Ahi)

Fish with High Mercury

Eat no more than three 6-oz servings each month

  • Bluefish
  • Grouper
  • Mackeral (Spanish, Gulf)
  • Sea Bass (Chilean)
  • Tuna (canned, white albacore)
  • Tuna (Yellowfin)

Fish with Lower Mercury

Eat no more than six 6-oz servings each month

  • Bass ( Striped, Black)
  • Carp
  • Cod (Alaskan)
  • Croaker (White Pacific)
  • Halibut (Pacific and Atlantic)
  • Jacksmelt (Silverside)
  • Lobster
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Monkfish
  • Perch (freshwater)
  • Sablefish
  • Skate
  • Snapper
  • Sea Trout (Weakfish)
  • Tuna (canned, chunk light)
  • Tuna (Skipjack)

Fish with Lowest Mercury

Eat two 6-oz servings each week

  • Anchovies
  • Butterfish
  • Catfish
  • Clam
  • Crab (domestic)
  • Crawfish/crayfish
  • Croaker
  • Flounder
  • Haddock
  • Hake
  • Herring
  • Mackeral (North Atlantic, Chub)
  • Mullet
  • Oysters
  • Perch (ocean)
  • Plaice
  • Salmon (canned, fresh – pink, coho, sockeye, chum, and king (Chinook))
  • Sardines
  • Scallops
  • Shad (American)
  • Shrimp
  • Sole
  • Squid (Calamari)
  • Tilapia
  • Trout (freshwater)
  • Whitefish
  • Whiting


Data obtained through the FDA and the EPA.

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