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Best and Worst Fish Choices

A Guide for a Healthy Body & Planet


2/26/2008 7:04:30 PM

MIFFLIN's SparkPage
I had just been wondering about this very question and discovered this e-mail and the helpful comments with more links today. Perfect timing - thanks!
2/22/2008 10:54:57 AM

We always make Alaskan Salmon our first and only choice, fresh or canned..
2/21/2008 11:56:00 AM

So many of these fish species vary greatly depending on where you live, particularly if you're buying or catching locally. I'm in a small town in the mountains in Virginia, and the only way to find out is to look it up on state websites. One stream may be fine, but another may be contaminated by mine run off, PCBs, or other industrial waste. And this list is going to change frequently! I don't eat fish myself, but if you do it's well worth the few minutes to look up current recommendations. Peace.
2/21/2008 5:30:48 AM

SUMMER65's SparkPage
Thank you for the article. I didnt know that some of fish I like are bad choices. Now I can make more informed choices. I printed the list and will take it wilth me to the store.
2/19/2008 8:19:26 PM

The most comprehensive guides to seafood are those found at the Monterey Bay Aquarium website's Seafood Watch. Find it at
It has lists of fish and seafood available in the different areas of the US and explains which are best and worst to eat and why.
2/19/2008 7:20:51 PM

JNYE76's SparkPage
The article gave a link to the Ocean's Alive website which clearly lists many more options under the "good fish" list as well as giving you options for "OK-fish." For those of you who missed it, here is the link again:

You can also use this link for a more direct route:

It is necessary to be aware of overfishing... if we keep going at the rate we're going, there won't be any fish left to enjoy in 30-40 years. The ocean is one big circle of life - if we overfish any one species, we will affect all of the species. Each species is necessary for the survival of the species it eats and the species it is eaten by. This isn't environmental babble - it is a fact.
2/19/2008 6:58:36 PM

This is quite an eye opener for me. I grew up on the Gulf Coast and rarely see fish or crabs outside the water or in a bucket near a fishing pole! Looks you can't take fresh for granted and we all just have to be more careful. Thanks for the info!
2/19/2008 6:19:01 PM

From a scientist perspective - Here is the deal on freshwater fish and PCBs

Stay away from bottom feeders - like catfish for example - bottom feeders spend most of their lives foraging around the sediment which is wear most heavy metals and contaminants accumulate. Another good tip is buy smaller fish - smaller fish are younger and thus have had less time to accumulate more contaminants. I would not encourage buying younger fish that are at risk of over fishing because they may be too young to spawn. If you are buying your fish locally from local fishermen/women (or you are catching the fish yourself) you can usually find out where it was caught. Most state departments of health issue fish advisories and will tell you what water bodies, fish species and fish size to stay away from. For example, I live in Virginia and the Virginia Department of Health has this website -

I believe most other states have an equivalent.. I would disagree with Notsoplain's comment that wild fish is organic. Because of the environmental degradation in our oceans (which is very very widespread) it is actually more probable that farm raised fish are less contaminated than wild fish (this depends on species and area caught) because the inputs are more tightly controlled. To receive the title "organic" foods must meet tight standards from the FDA - there is no way to regulate whether wild fish meet those standards because they could encounter any number of contaminants in the wild with out human knowledge - in addition if you see "organic" on any fish you can bet that it means absolutely nothing because the FDA has not set out specific requirements for fish yet. So it's quite possible "organic" fish was raised with antibiotics.

However, to be honest if you are eating 1-2 servings of fish per week I wouldn’t be all that concerned. Another good tip for canned tuna is go for light albacore instead of white albacore – for whatever reason from a chemical stand point light tuna is less contaminated than white tuna. And if you are pregnant I would forgo most fish all together – not worth the risk for your child.
2/19/2008 5:57:48 PM

pretty soon there will be no good food left to eat. from beef to fish, we are at the mercy of everyone else for our food. I love fish and am heart broken that I don't get enough. I love fresh tuna steaks, (hate canned tuna,) but the cost as well as the scare leaves me wondering when will we wake up and come up with a great (not good) solution to this problem.
2/19/2008 4:41:58 PM

I completely agree with all of the comments listed, so I did a few minutes of internet searching after getting a lead of where to start from UNIKERRN

THIS is a much better resource:

There is a rating scale included of how environmentally sound and which fish have the highest health risks.
Crab, Lobster, Tilapia and many more are included ~ Enjoy!
2/19/2008 2:43:59 PM

UNIKERRN's SparkPage
From Mark Bittman's column in the NY Times:

You can text Blue Ocean’s Fishphone at 30644 with the message FISH and the name of the fish in question. Immediately you’ll get a text back with an assessment and, when appropriate, a more environmentally sound alternative.

If you put in sea bass, for example, you would get a message back saying, “Black sea bass; U.S. Mid Atlantic (GREEN) few environmental concerns, strong management has helped populations recover from overfishing.”

Green means green light, of course.

And the system is pretty smart. Try “halibut” and you get

Pacific Halibut
(GREEN) few environmental concerns
MSC certified as sustainable;
Atlantic halibut
(RED) significant environmental concerns
2/19/2008 12:56:40 PM

this article is brief but if you click on the Oceans Alive link they have much more information about the various kinds of fish everyone is asking about...
2/19/2008 12:55:49 PM

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch [] has regional lists, which are longer and much more helpful.
2/19/2008 12:51:02 PM

I understand that this list isn't very comprehensive, however it brought to light an issue I hadn't even thought about. So, I'm using it as a jumping off point and find it to be VERY helpful. I buy salmon at least once a week, so now I will stop buying Atlantic Salmon.

2/19/2008 12:17:36 PM

FITPRADS's SparkPage
not very helpful.. though I ve stopped eating non veg foodstuff, the rest of my family does ea..
this articles starts out well but, doesnt really provide info

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