Mercury Levels in Fish: Are They Safe to Eat?

With the ever increasing toxicity of this planet’s oceans, plus last year’s Fukushima’s radiation disaster, all fish from every ocean will soon be contaminated with radiation.  So I do not recommend consuming fish frequently, at most once or twice a week. You should also be concerned with any seaweeds, chlorella or spirulina that you consume, as these aquatic plants are also at risk of radiation and heavy metal toxicity.

Mercury is a major concerning contaminant in fish. As a general rule, larger fish contain higher levels of toxins because they eat smaller fish and assimilate those toxins in their own tissues. This process is called biomagnification and it holds true for all animals.

If you are taking fish oils, beware of the quality of your product.  Often, supplements contain high levels of mercury and other heavy metals.  Nordic Naturals is a high quality company that purifies their fish oils so well that their products contain at least 10 times less contamination than the EPA’s allowable limits.

Low Mercury Levels (consume once or twice a week, at most):

  • Artic cod
  • Anchovies
  • Butterfish
  • Catfish
  • Clam
  • Crab (Domestic)
  • Crawfish
  • Croaker (Atlantic)
  • Flounder
  • Haddoc (Atlantic)
  • Hake
  • Herring
  • Mackeral (N. Atlantic)
  • Oysters
  • Perch (Ocean)
  • Pollock
  • Salmon (Wild, never farmed!)
  • Sardine
  • Scallop
  • Shrimp
  • Sole (Pacific)
  • Squid
  • TIlapia
  • Trout (Freshwater)
  • Whitefish

Medium Mercury Levels (consume once or twice a month, if at all):

  • Bass
  • Carp
  • Alaskan Cod
  • Croaker (White Pacific)
  • Halibut
  • Lobster
  • Mahi Mahi
  • Monkfish
  • Perch (Freshwater)
  • Skate
  • Snapper
  • Tuna (Canned chunk light)
  • Weakfish

High Mercury Levels (consumption NOT recommended):

  • Bluefish
  • Grouper
  • Mackerel (King, Spanish, Gulf)
  • Merlin
  • Orange Roughy
  • Seabass
  • Shark
  • Swordfish
  • Tilefish
  • Tuna (Canned Albacore, Ahi, Bigeye, Yellowfin)

With our oceans containing plastics and trash piles the larger than the state of Texas, toxicity of fish and aquatic plants is a major health and environmental issue.  Reducing your consumption of fish and choosing high-quality fish oil supplements is a safer way to get the health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids while minimizing exposure to toxic mercury and other heavy metals.



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