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, [except for various
mercury charts and graphics for fish], 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, though, I suppose that could be true for any normally low toxin seafood accidentally caught in high toxin locale).

American Shad
Atlantic Haddock

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

Atlantic Croaker

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

(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 🙂 )

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


    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

    About the Alaska Fish Monitoring program

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

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

    Alaska Fish Facts and Consumption Guidelines


    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

    14 Responses


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


    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



    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


    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



    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.


    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

    Doug at Gaia Health Blog


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

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


    Hi Fabienne,

    SĂ»r (Sure)….

    Doug At Gaia Health Blog


    Merci beaucoup !


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


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


    Hi Donna,

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

    Doug at GAIA Health Blog


    Your Comments
    Hello Doug & thank you for a great site! Love to see what fish I can eat now with no concerns. You do a super job!


    Hi Betty,

    Thanks for the compliment. But, not problem. I’m an “egghead” researcher at the core, so that info is easy to put down on my site. I guess I’m always trying to hide that side of me amidst all the “Booming Babes” and “Phat Cribs” and so forth on my site LOL!!!!

    Enjoy that seafood, and I might suggest some Culinary Argan Oil (sold on Amazon) as an oil to drizzle over fish after it’s cooked or do dip a forkful of fish in while eating. Soooooo, soooo good!!!!

    Eat Healthy, and Eat Tasty!!!!

    Doug at GAIA Health Blog

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