My Top 10 “Safe to Eat”, Low Mercury Seafoods (and my Top 10 High Mercury Seafoods to AVOID)

I'm not just "cutting and pasting" off the web here, I poured through dozens upon dozens, if not one or two hundred charts and research papers…….

This list is for me [and family and friends] primarily because I eat seafood almost everyday (albeit 98% Alaskan Wild Caight Salmon…occasional Crab Legs, Mussels, Restaurant Fish, Shrimp, and so forth)

I tried to make this as streamlined as I could, and now, I am even more comfortable with my seafood consumption than before (though I will stay on top of my research in years to come)……….

My Top 10 Lowest Levels of Mercury, and VERY "Safe to Eat" Seafoods

…the top 6 can "sometimes" (though not the majority of times), have samples that test out as "no mercury detected"

1. Scallops

2. Alaskan Wild Caught Salmon
(all 5 species, King, Chum, Pink, Red/Sockeye, Silver/Coho)

(Alaskan Dept of Health  encourages consumption for everyone INCLUDING pregnant women in UNLIMITED quantities)

Clams and Mussels (though mussels data is more scarce)

4. Oysters

5. Sardines

6. Anchovies

7. Catfish

8. Alaskan Pollock, a.k.a., Walleye Pollock
(Alaskan Dept of Health  encourages consumption for everyone INCLUDING pregnant women in UNLIMITED quantities)

9. Alaskan Caught Pacific Ocean Perch
(Alaskan Dept of Health   encourages consumption for everyone INCLUDING pregnant women in UNLIMITED quantities)

10. Alaskan Caught Pacific Cod
(Alaskan Dept of Health   encourages consumption for everyone INCLUDING pregnant women in UNLIMITED quantities)

Pregnant Women, Nursing Women, Women expecting to become mothers

and children <18 (and everyone else), are allowed [and encouraged for health reasons] to eat the the following Alaskan Caught Seafoods in UNLIMITED Quantities…….

…..based on research from the  Alaskan Dept of Health, 2014 Fish Consumption Study  via thorough testing and scientific study of seafood mercury levels from 2002 to 2014, and mercury level hair testing of Native Alaskan Women who consume seafood in large quantities

 

safe seafoods for pregnant women to eat in UNLIMITED Quantities (and also for everyone)

* All Alaskan fish in top 10 list above

* Alaskan Halibut <40 lbs (most Alaskan halibut are caught at < 25 lbs)

* Caught in Alaskan waters rainbow trout

…and lesser know Alaskan caught fish:

* arctic cisco
* big skate
* black rockfish
* broad whitefish
* Dolly Varden trout
* dusky rockfish
* grayling
* humpback whitefish
* least cisco
* lingcod <35 inches
* rougheye rockfish
* sablefish
* sheefish

______________________________________________________________________________________

Additional Note: Also, according to research and studies by Alaskan Dept of Health adult men, women beyond child  bearing years , and women who will not become pregnant may continue unrestricted consumption of all fish from Alaska waters except salmon shark, which should only be consumed sparingly .

The "Best of the Rest"……My other "Seemingly Safe" Seafoods

Number 10 on my Top 10 list above, Alaskan caught Pacific Cod, is slightly higher in mercury than the rest of my Top 10 list, but still very very low; low enough to be recommended to be consumed in unlimited quantities according to the Alaskan Dept of Health.

Though I have found no specific research studies on the following seafoods, like that which I obtained with the Alaskan fish above, all these other seafoods are in general slightly lower than my Top 10 list's Alaskan Pacific Cod in ppm mercury counts, and thus I can conclude they are [in general] very safe for me to eat in large quantities (assuming they are not unknowingly contaminated, as in, lobster should be low, but the one I ate at the restaurant happened to be caught near a factory that dumps toxic waste).

Squid
crawfish
American Shad
Atlantic Haddock

Mackerel, North Atlantic, Chub
(note King, Spanish, Gulf Mackerel are on the High and VERY HIGH, DO NOT EAT lists!!!)

Whiting
Mullet
Flounder
Plaice
Sole
Butterfish
Atlantic Croaker
Hake
Jacksmelt
Whitefish
Herring
Carp
Lobster

IMPORTANT Quick Note: Vital Choice Seafoods, a very reliable and socially conscious seafood company, says that most seafoods are "in general" safe to eat because they are rich in selenium, which negates the effects of mercury. The exceptions they list in their article are on my Top 10 high mercury seafoods below. Though Vital Choice sells seafood, and might have a vested interest in presenting such information, I find them in general to be very reliable and knowledgeable  read the article from Vital Choice here

Special Cases

these seafoods, in normal wild caught circumstances are very low and s/b the very safe list, but 85% of seafood consumed in USA is imported and farmed, and these often "farmed and imported" seafoods can often have very high levels of mercury and/or other toxins….

 

 Imported/Farmed Shrimp and Prawns
(imported/farmed shrimp exceeded toxic residue limits more  frequently than any other seafood)

 Imported/Farmed Crab

 Basa
(a type of catfish, probably not relevant for USA consumers, but just being thorough from my research)

 Imported/Farmed Tilapia

Farm Raised Salmon
(very common at restaurants, cafeterias, and anywhere "Wild Caught" is not specifically mentioned)

 

My Top 10 (Top 12) Very High Mercury, "Advisable Not To Eat" Seafoods

Starting [in general], with the highest levels of mercury at #1

1. Tilefish from Gulf of Mexico, also known as blanquillo

2. Shark

3. Mackerel (King, and to a lesser degree, Spanish and Gulf Mackerel)

4. Swordfish

Sea Bass (specifically Chilean Sea Bass)

6 Orange Roughy

7. Tuna
(Bigeye, Ahi, Yellowfin, Albacore, The only safe/low tuna is line caught Albacore caught in US and Canadian waters [they are caught younger than most tuna]. This tuna is hard to find, a VERY socially conscious seafood company,
Vital Choice, has this Very Low Mercury Albacore Tuna)

8. Grouper

9. Bluefish

10. Marlin

11. Sablefish (though sablefish from Alaskan waters is on the low list)

12. Snapper

~stay healthy~
(….and enjoy the health benefits and taste of select seafoods with confidence ūüôā )

I sifted through countless documents and charts for this article, the most interesting to me are below

    Monterey Bay Aqarium Super Green Seafood List

    National Resources Defense Council

    US Seafood Advice Flawed on Mercury, Omega- 3 's

    Balancing Benefits of Omega -3's and Mercury Intake in Seafood (with chart)

    Mercury concentrations in fish (by the numbers)

    Mercury Concentrations in fish (by the numbers 2)

    Mercury in Fish Chart #1

    How the coal industry poisoned your tuna sandwich

    Contaminants in Alaskan Fish Found to be very low

    Health Advisory and guidelines for eating various Alaskan Fish (2007)

    Health advisory and guidelines for eating various Alaskan Fish (updated 2014) 

    State of Alaska Epidemiology fact sheet

     

    check out all my articles in "Eat Smart", the science of food (click here or on the photo below)

     

    Click here or below to go to all my Top Tens

    12 Responses

    05.19.16

    Thanks for sharing this great article. It gave me all the information I needed.

    05.19.16

    Hey Dyanne Kelly,

    Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, I’m glad the research and info was helpful (I’m a research “egghead” at the core, hiding behind the my well crafted, Social Media Friendly Blog)

    Now go enjoy that grilled, Salmon/Spinach/Feta Burger with no Guilt!!!!

    ~stay healthy~

    Doug at Gaia Health Blog

     

    06.29.16

    HI and thanks for the post it was very helpful the perfect i found online about seafood and mercury. could i  ask a question :

    is there a limit on how much we can consume each day say sardines i4ve read the limit of mercury is 0.1ui And thanks

    06.29.16

    Hi Brahim,

    I don’t know for sure but my guess is if I wanted to consume sardines, I could eat as much as I want. I do that with Salmon because I eat it almost every day, and sardines and salmon have the same mercury levels.

    Doug at Gaia Health Blog

     

    06.30.16

    Hi Again Doug

    thanks for responding. well i'm a big fan of sardines they have a huge amount of calcium consuming them sometimes twice a day and i felt a little worried when i heard about mercury in fishes so thank you for sharing your knowledge with us.

    06.30.16

    Hey  Brahim,

    You¬† might want to take a look at this article as well. They say that there is so much selenium in fish, which negates the mercury in fish, and thus that the mercury is not as harmful as people think. Though this is from a company that sells fish, I know they to be a very reliable and socially conscious company, so I would consider the article to be “possibly” be truth, but for sure something worth investigating

    http://www.vitalchoice.com/shop/pc/viewContent.asp?idpage=12

    Doug at Gaia Health Blog

    03.25.17

    Bonjour ,
    Les photos sont superbes puis je les utiliser comme modèle pour mes peintures ?

    Translation:
    The photos are superb then I use them as a model for my paintings?

    03.25.17

    Hi Fabienne,

    S√Ľr (Sure)….

    Doug At Gaia Health Blog

    03.25.17

    Merci beaucoup !

    04.24.17

    Having a Pollock of a time tonight, thanks for the info on the species

    05.19.17

    Thank you for all the info., I come back to this website often when researching different kinds of fish.

    05.19.17

    Hi Donna,

    You’re welcome, I’m glad you got some value out of the post.

    Doug at GAIA Health Blog

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