There has been a lot of concern recently about the safety of eating fish. Once thought to be the perfect “healthy” protein source, we now know that certain fish are not so good for us. So what is the issue? Mercury and PCB’s. These dangerous substances enter the oceans from industrial discharges and agricultural practices, which are then eaten by fish, rendering their flesh toxic. Larger, more mature fish typically have higher levels of mercury because they have had more time to accumulate such toxins. Bottom dwelling fish also contain concerning levels of PCBs because when chemically laden runoff enters the water, it settles at the bottom.
Why do we need to stay away from mercury and PCBs? According to the Environmental Defense Fund, Mercury and PCBs build up in the body over time and can affect the nervous system, harming vision, hearing, and motor skills. These toxins can also cause slow brain development in children, leading to learning difficulties later in life.
Here is a quick list of fish to avoid:
Chilean Sea Bass
For a more in-depth list click here.
The good thing to know is that not all fish contain alarming levels of mercury and PCBs. There are actually quite a few delicious types of fish and seafood you can enjoy without worry.
Safe fish to eat:
Albacore Tuna (only troll caught)
Wild caught salmon
For a complete list of healthy West Coast fish click here. If you aren’t a west coaster, click here for the edible fish in your region.
When buying fish, remember that farmed fish, including salmon, can also be high in PCBs. If you choose to buy farmed fish, be sure to research the farm and what types of practices they use to reduce toxicity levels.
If you are looking to buy sustainably caught, toxin-free fish, check out the Monterey Fish Market in Berkeley and the Hudson Fish Company at the Berkeley, Kensington and El Cerrito farmer’s markets.
So now that you know what fish to eat, try this fantastic dish of baked fish with Baja spices. It’s perfect for summer and goes great with organic corn tortillas and guacamole.
Please feel free to contact Jamie with questions or to share your health, wellness and foodie stories. Email: [email protected] Facebook: JAMIE LIVING Twitter:JAMIE LIVING