So as my wife and I were doing some research in hopes of promoting a solid diet and healthier lifestyle (and because she is pregnant right now), here is the list of those saltwater fish species that could do more harm than good to you and your health if eaten out of moderation. Strong Angler Cameron Parsons with a nice king fish FDA warns children, pregnant women and lactating moms to NOT eat any king mackerel due to their very high mercury content.
Eliminating these fish species in your diet can definitely reduce your chances of getting exposed to the harmful effects of mercury and other existing contaminants. Whether fresh or canned, Albacore still has mercury levels that are almost three times higher than the smaller skip jack.
According to a CNN report, this type of fish has extremely high levels of metal mercury that can eventually cause coordination loss, blindness and even death, depending on the amount or portion ingested. Scientists believed that such increased mercury content was due to the accumulation of certain contaminants in their body as they eat lots of smaller fish.
“What we found for our 124 sharks that we sampled was that about one-third of them came in with mercury levels that were over the Food and Drug Administration’s action level of one part per million,” Robert Hunter, director of Mote Marine Laboratory’s Center for Shark Research in Sarasota, said in a statement. The cobra is a delicious saltwater fish that sadly can soak up a lot of mercury.
Strong Angler Tina Corrode with what’s left of her swordfish you like catching daytime or nighttime swordfish, you might want to be careful how much of it you eat. Strong Angler Cindy Dillard with an evening bluefishBluefish are fun to catch, will hit pretty much anything you drag through the water, and can really rip some line out on light tackle.
Although most people throw back jacks and refer to them as a “junk fish”, but for those of you that do eat them, be careful! Greater Amber jack South Atlantic grouper (i.e. gag, scamp, red and snowy) Tile fish (also called golden or white snapper) Banded Rudder fish.
NOTE: On February 8, 2006, technical changes were made to the data that was posted on January 19, 2006. The changes corrected data or more properly characterized the species of fish or shellfish sampled.
On October 6, 2014, technical changes were made to allow viewers to review the list in order of mercury levels and in alphabetical order by fish species. Red grouper is available year-round with peak catches in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico occurring during the summer and fall.
Red grouper flesh is white and lean with a notable lack of bones, and is very forgiving when cooked as it remains moist, firm, and has large flakes. Red grouper is considered the best tasting grouper with a distinct shellfish finish due to its diet.
Red grouper are protogynous hermaphrodites, meaning they all begin life as a female and eventually some may transform into males. Red grouper have large mouths with a slight under-bite, which allows them to eat their prey whole by dilating their gill covers and rapidly inhaling.
They also frequent areas with live bottom structures such as sponges, corals, and sea squirts. Red grouper act as “marine engineers” in their ecosystem by hollowing out flat-bottomed areas to create their home and attract mates.
This process provides habitat to other species such as spiny lobster, black grouper, red porgy, and vermilion snapper. Their grouper habitat utilization investigation looks at seasonal movement patterns in an attempt to improve populations and fishery management.
The If program allocates shares of the total commercial catch limit amongst individual fishers. Under the program, each fisher owns a share of the quota and can choose to fish it at anytime during the open season.
Strict commercial reporting requirements prevent fishers from harvesting more than their individual allocation. The Reef Fish FMP has been a success in allowing red grouper populations to bounce back from overfishing that had occurred on and off in the Gulf since the 1970s.
They are fairly long-lived and come together to spawn in large numbers, characteristics that make them vulnerable to fishing pressure. The Gulf of Mexico population in the was declared overfished in 2000 and then was rebuilt to target levels in 2007, according to the U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service.
The South Atlantic stock is no longer overfished, but a 2010 assessment showed it hasn’t been fully rebuilt. Grouper fisheries have high impacts on nontarget species, the Monterey Bay Aquarium reported.
Venting tools are also employed to make it easier for reef fish to survive when released. In the United States, red grouper management measures include permits, annual catch limits, fishing quotas, marine protected areas that are closed to fishing, seasonal closures, gear restrictions, minimum size limits, and data reporting requirements.
It’s incredibly important to get ample omega-3 fatty acids, and certain fish can serve as potent sources. But due to issues like mining, sewage and fossil fuel emissions, heavy metals like mercury are winding up in the water and building up in our fish.
Unfortunately, low-level mercury poisoning from contaminated seafood is a real threat and can lead to devastating effects on health. Not only that, but some fish have also been so overfished that they are on the brink of collapse, which can have detrimental effects on the ocean ecosystem.
In fact, the shift to eating more farmed fish like tilapia is leading to highly inflammatory diets, according to a 2008 study published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Wake Forest University School of Medicine researchers say tilapia is one of the most widely consumed fish in America.
Sustaining high levels of inflammation in the body can worsen symptoms of autoimmune disorders and may be linked to chronic conditions like heart disease, cancer and diabetes. If you must eat this fish, avoid tilapia from China, where farming practices are particularly worrisome.
Although the female cod releases more than a hundred million eggs, only a few are able to survive to adulthood. In 2014, Oceana, the largest ocean conservation group in the world, conducted an investigation using data from the National Marine Fisheries Service.
They found that commercial fishermen in the U.S. throw about 2 billion pounds of “by catch” overboard each year. According to the report, if you’ve eaten U.S. halibut, there’s a good chance it came from this damaging fishery.
Without further protection and enforcement of existing efforts, we may forever lose one of the biggest, most interesting fishes in the world. Now common on menus around the U.S., Chilean sea bass overfishing has left this species in serious trouble.
Furthermore, harvesting the fish from Chile is also plagued by poor management and by catch problems. Eel Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch places eel on the “Avoid” list on its sushi guide because it’s slow to mature and has been overfished in many parts of the world, bringing some populations to collapse.
In the Delaware River, for instance, eels are an integral part of spreading mussel populations that serve as natural water filters. Aside from the issues with overfishing, eels tend to readily absorb and store harmful chemicals and contaminants such as poly chlorinated biphenyls (PCs) and flame retardants.
In 2009, Italian researchers discovered that 4-hexylresorcinol, a food additive used to prevent discoloration in shrimp that could reduce sperm count in men and increase breast cancer risk in women. Shrimp farm ponds are also treated with harmful chemicals and pesticides such as malachite green, rote none and organic compounds, all of which can have detrimental effects on health.
Plus, an Associated Press investigation uncovered a slavery network in Thailand dedicated to peeling shrimp sold around the world. Although Alaskan king crab legs legally can only be called that if they’re harvested from Alaska, widespread mislabeling is the norm.
Generally known as “slime head” within the scientific community, seafood marketers had other ideas for this fish and gave the species a more appetizing name. Since orange roughly don’t reach sexual maturity until at least 20 years old, they are very slow to recovery.
According to Oceana: “The extremely long lifespan and the late age at maturity imply that a decimated population may take a half century or longer before it can recover.” Beyond that, the orange roughly is also known to have higher mercury levels, which can be dangerous if consumed in large amounts.
But apart from that, most shark species, which are slow to mature and don’t have a lot of offspring, are severely depleted. Often referred to as Hon Mauro on sushi menus, this simply means blue fin tuna, which should be avoided at all costs.
A better sushi choice would be fatso/skip jack tuna caught through Pacific troll or pole and line methods only. However, due to its high demand for sushi, fisheries managers are still allowing commercial fishing to target it.
Sadly, blue fin tuna numbers are at just 2.6 percent of historic population levels. Aside from the obvious population collapse and extinction threat, this is also a large predatory fish that harbors higher levels of mercury.
In fact, the mercury in this fish is so high that the Environmental Defense Fund recommends women and children avoid it altogether. That’s certainly the case with king mackerel, as the Food and Drug Administration warns women and children to outright avoid it.
You may want to avoid Spanish mackerel, too, which has also been shown to harbor elevated mercury levels. Luckily, Atlantic mackerel is high in omega-3s, low in mercury and is rated a top choice in terms of health and sustainability.
In 2015, an investigation found that more than a third of 19 restaurants in Atlanta sold fantasies (also known as “Vietnamese catfish”) as grouper. Testing also found that grouper for sale is actually often king mackerel or white fin weakfish, a cheaper alternative.
According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, sturgeon are “more critically endangered than any other group of species.” The best fish options are ones that come from sustainable fisheries, are low in contaminants and high in omega 3 fatty acids.
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch calls this the “Super Green List.” In addition to being rich in heart-healthy fats, salmon is a great source of protein, B vitamins, potassium and selenium.
Atlantic mackerel This oily fish is also high in health omega-3 fatty acids, along with protein, niacin, selenium and vitamin B12. Keep in mind that mackerel is often sold preserved in tons of salt, so be sure to soak it and rinse well before cooking and eating to reduce sodium levels.
Albacore Tuna (troll- or pole-caught, from the U.S. or British Columbia) Sable fish/Black Cod (from Alaska and Canadian Pacific) Finding safer seafood can be challenging and requires you to consider many factors, including sustainability, nutritional value, mercury levels and the risk of contamination with pollutants, pesticides or harmful chemicals.