Go Fish

Women of childbearing age should be particularly concerned about their mercury levels, as it can be passed through the placenta during pregnancy and when breastfeeding. Because mercury can take more than a year to leave your body, if you're considering becoming pregnant, opt for seafood with little mercury risk well in advance.


Use this list to steer away from species that are high in toxins or are being over-fished. To learn more, read Paul Johnson's Fish Forever: The Definitive Guide to Understanding, Selecting, and Preparing Healthy, Delicious, and Environmentally Sustainable Seafood.

These fish have low toxin levels, are good for you and are harvested in an environmentally sustainable manner.

  • Wild Alaskan Salmon (fresh/frozen/canned)
  • Sardines
  • Oysters (farmed)
  • Catfish (U.S. farmed)
  • Tilapia (U.S. farmed)
  • Trout (farmed)
  • Arctic Char (wild and farmed)
  • Mussels (farmed)
  • Atlantic Mackerel
  • Shrimp (U.S. farmed)
  • Striped Bass (U.S. farmed)
  • Herring
  • Pollock
  • Anchovies
  • Bay Scallops
  • Clams (farmed)
  • Caviar (farmed)
  • Skipjack Tuna (pole-caught)
  • Barramundi
  • Crawfish (U.S. farmed)

Limit your consumption to a couple times per month as these fish may have elevated toxins or are in danger of being over fished.

  • Canned Chunk Light Tuna
  • Yellowfin/Albacore Tuna
  • Lobster
  • King/Snow Crabs
  • Squid
  • Pacific Sole
  • Mahi-Mahi
  • King Crab
  • Sea Scallops
  • Pacific Cod

When possible, avoid these fish. They have high toxin levels and are harvested in environmentally damaging ways.

  • Farmed Atlantic Salmon
  • Shark
  • Grouper
  • Orange Roughy
  • Chilean Seabass
  • Marlin
  • Swordfish (imported)
  • Bluefin Tuna
  • Pacific Rockfish
  • Red Snapper
  • Tilefish
  • American Eel

Matthew G. Kadey is a Canada-based dietitian and freelance writer who finds nothing fishy about tossing catfish on the barbie. Find him at wellfedman.com.
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