Mother Earth Living

Smart Shopper’s Fish Picks

The best fish for your healthy diet.
By Natural Home Staff
January/February 2006
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Doctors urge us to include fish as part of a healthy diet, yet many species are disapearing from waterways while others contain unhealthy toxins. The Green Guide’s handy chart helps you wade through levels of endangerment as well as probable mercury levels.

Key 

• L = low in mercury
• M = moderate levels of mercury (Children and pregnant or nursing women should eat no more than once per month)
• H = highest in mercury (Children and pregnant or nursing women should avoid.)

To learn which fish from local water bodies are safe to eat, call your state Department of Health.

"Yes" Fish 

These fish are low in mercury. They’re currently not over-fished or farmed in an environmentally destructive way.

• abalone (farmed) (L)
• anchovies (L)
• catfish (farmed) (L)
• caviar (U.S. or French farmed) (L)
• char, Arctic (saltwater) (L)
• clams (farmed) (L)
• crawfish (L)
• croaker (Atlantic) (L)
• cuttlefish (L)
• herring (L)
• hoki (L)
• lobster, spiny/rock (U.S., Australian) (L)
• rainbow trout (farmed) (L)
• salmon (wild Alaskan, Californian) (L)
• sardines (L)
• shrimp, (trap caught) (L)
• squid (Pacific) (L)
• striped bass (farmed) (L)
• sturgeon (farmed) (L)

"Sometimes" Fish 

These species are recovering from over- fishing or contain moderate mercury levels.

• bluefish (M)
• clams (caught) (L)
• cod (Pacific) (M)
• crab, blue (Gulf Coast) (M)
• crab, Dungeness (M)
• crab, imitation (pollock) (M)
• crab, king (Alaskan) (L)
• crab, snow (L)
• flounder, (Pacific) (L)
• halibut (Alaskan) (M)
• jacksmelt (L)
• lobster, Maine (M)
• mackerel, Spanish (Atlantic) (M)
• mahi-mahi (M)
• mussels, blue (M)
• oyster, Eastern (M)
• pollock (M)
• sablefish/black cod (M)
• sanddabs (L)
• scallops (L)
• sole (Pacific) (L)
• squid (L)
• tilapia (L)
• tuna (canned light) (M)

"No" Fish 

These could have one or more of the following problems: are over-fished, farmed destructively, produce high bycatch of other ocean species, contain high mercury levels.

• bass/sea bass (H)
• catfish, wild (H)
• caviar (Russian/Iranian) (L)
• char, Arctic (freshwater) (H)
• Chilean sea bass (H)
• cod (Atlantic) (M)
• crab, king (imported) (L)
• croaker (Pacific) (H)
• flounder (Atlantic) (L)
• grouper (H)
• haddock (L)
• halibut (Atlantic) (H)
• lobster (Caribbean) (L)
• mackerel, king & Spanish (Gulf of Mexico) (H)
• marlin (H)
• monkfish (M)
• orange roughy (H)
• oysters (Gulf Coast) (H)
• pike (H)
• rockfish (rock cod, Pacific red snapper) (L)
• salmon (farmed or Great Lakes) (M)
• shark (H)
• shrimp (imported, farmed) (L)
• skate (M)
• snapper (red, imported) (M)
• sole (Atlantic) (L)
• swordfish (H)
• tilefish (H)
• tuna (albacore, bluefin, yellowfin) (H)

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