What Fish is Safe to Eat?

Illustration of a group of striped bass

Image via Wikipedia

Often times people think they are doing better for their health by eating fish.  Yet we see more and more lab testing in fish and people showing high quantities of toxic metals and other substances including prescription drugs.

If you are a Pescatorian or a regular fish eater, know your fish and which ones you should and should not eat.  Below is a fantastic chart offered by Sea Food Watch it’s the most current information available.

Use this guide to find ocean-friendly alternatives to seafood on the Seafood Watch “Avoid” list.
For more information, and to learn more about species that do not appear on this list, visit www.seafoodwatch.org.

Summer 2010 Culinary Chart of Alternatives

Avoid Best Choices Good Alternatives
Caviar and Sturgeon (imported wild-caught) Caviar and Sturgeon (U.S. farmed)Sturgeon (wild-caught from OR, WA)*
Chilean Seabass/Patagonian Toothfish* Cobia (US farmed)Sablefish/Black Cod/Butterfish (AK+, BC) Sablefish/Black Cod/Butterfish (CA, OR, WA)
Cod: Atlantic, Iceland and Northeast Arctic (trawled),  and Pacific (imported)
Cobia (US farmed)Cod: Pacific (trap, hook-and-line, longline from AK+) Cod: Atlantic (Northeast Arctic and Iceland)Cod: Pacific (U.S. trawl)
Conch: Queen
Abalone (U.S. farmed)
Crab: King (imported)
Crab: Dungeness, Stone Crab: Blue*, King (U.S.), Snow
Crayfish (imported farmed)
Crayfish (U.S. farmed)Spot Prawn (BC) Spot Prawn (U.S.)
Dogfish (U.S.)*
Cod: Pacific (trap, hook-and-line, longline from AK+) Cod: Pacific (U.S. trawl)Dogfish (BC)*
Flounders, Soles (Atlantic)
Halibut: Pacific+ Flounders, Soles (Pacific)*Turbot: Greenland
Grenadier/Pacific Roughy
Tilapia (U.S. farmed) Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)
Groupers*
Mahi mahi (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole)Striped Bass (farmed or wild-caught*)

Tilapia (U.S. farmed)

Black Sea BassMahi mahi (US longline, U.S.Pacific and imported troll/pole)

Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)

Haddock (trawl)
Cobia (U.S. farmed)Cod: Pacific (trap, hook-and-line, longline from AK+) Haddock (hook-and-line)
Hake: White
Tilapia (U.S. farmed) Hake: Silver, Red and OffshoreTilapia (Central and South America farmed)
Halibut: Atlantic
Cobia (U.S. farmed)Halibut: Pacific+

Tilapia (U.S. farmed)

Flounders, Soles (Pacific)*Halibut: California (hook-and-line, bottom trawl)

Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)

Lobster: Spiny (Brazil)
Lobster: Spiny (Florida) Lobster: American/Maine
Marlin: Striped and Blue*
Mahi mahi (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole)Swordfish (harpoon or handline from the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic)* Mahi mahi (U.S. longline, U.S.Pacific and imported troll/pole)Swordfish (CA drift gillnet)

Swordfish (Harpoon or handline from the Indian Ocean, international Pacific and international Atlantic)

Swordfish (U.S. longline)*

Monkfish
Mahi mahi (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole)Sablefish/Black Cod/Butterfish (AK+, BC) Mahi mahi (U.S. longline, U.S.Pacific and imported troll/pole)Sablefish/Black Cod/Butterfish (CA, OR, WA)
Orange Roughy*
Halibut: Pacific+Tilapia (U.S. farmed) Flounders, Soles (Pacific)*Halibut: California (hook-and-line, bottom trawl)

Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)

Pompano: Florida
Striped Bass (farmed or wild-caught*) Black Sea Bass
Rockfish*: Pacific (trawl)
Halibut: Pacific+Rockfish: Black* (CA, OR)

Sablefish/Black Cod/Butterfish (AK+, BC)

Striped Bass (farmed or wild-caught*)

Flounders, Soles (Pacific)*Rockfish* (hook-and-line from AK, BC)

Sablefish/Black Cod/Butterfish (CA, OR, WA)

Salmon (farmed, including Atlantic)*
Arctic Char (farmed)Salmon (wild-caught from AK)+ Salmon (wild-caught from WA)*
Sharks*
Halibut: Pacific+ Sturgeon (U.S. farmed)Sturgeon (wild-caught from OR, WA)*
Shrimp (imported)
Shrimp: Pink (OR)+Spot Prawn (BC)

Freshwater Prawn (U.S. farmed)

Shrimp (U.S., Canada)Spot Prawn (U.S.)
Skate
Scallops: Bay (farmed) Scallops: Sea (wild-caught Atlantic, U.S. and Canada)Sturgeon (U.S. farmed)

Sturgeon (wild-caught from OR, WA)*

Snapper: Red and Vermilion (US)
Tilapia (U.S. farmed) Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)
Swordfish (imported)*
Mahi mahi (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole)Swordfish (harpoon or handline from the U.S. and Canadian Atlantic)* Mahi mahi (U.S. longline, U.S.Pacific and imported troll/pole)Swordfish (CA drift gillnet)

Swordfish (Harpoon or handline from the Indian ocean, international Pacific and international Atlantic)

Sturgeon (U.S. farmed)

Swordfish (U.S. longline)*

Tilapia (China, Taiwan farmed)
Tilapia (U.S. farmed) Tilapia (Central and South America farmed)
Tilefish (Southeast)*
Mahi mahi (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole)Striped Bass (farmed or wild-caught*) Mahi mahi (U.S. longline, U.S.Pacific and imported troll/pole)Tilefish (Mid-Atlantic)*

Tuna: Albacore (Atlantic and Indian Ocean, troll/pole)

Tuna: Albacore (longline except for HI)*
Tuna: Albacore (South Pacific, U.S.+ and BC troll/pole) Tuna: Albacore (HI longline)*Tuna: Albacore (North Atlantic, troll/pole)

Tuna: Albacore (South Atlantic, troll/pole)

Tuna: Bluefin* and Bigeye (longline)*
Tuna: Skipjack (WCPO, U.S. Eastern Pacific troll/pole)Tuna: Yellowfin (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole) Tuna: Bigeye (troll/pole)Tuna: Skipjack (HI longline)

Tuna: Yellowfin (Pacific and Indian Ocean troll/pole, U.S. Atlantic
longline)*

Tuna: Skipjack (FAD-caught)
Tuna: Skipjack (WCPO, U.S. Eastern Pacific troll/pole, WCPO unassociated purse seine) Tuna: Skipjack (Atlantic, Indian, and Eastern Pacific unassociated purse seine)
Tuna: Yellowfin (FAD-caught, longline except for U.S. Atlantic) *
Tuna: Yellowfin (U.S. Atlantic troll/pole) Tuna: Tongol (handline, troll/pole, Malaysia)Tuna: Yellowfin (Pacific and Indian Ocean troll/pole, unassociated purse seine, U.S. Atlantic longline)*
* Consumption advisory from Environmental Defense Fund due to mercury or other contaminants.+ All or portions of this fishery have been certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council
Key
AK
BC
CA
HI
OR
WA
WCPO
Mid-Atlantic
Northeast
Southeast
FAD-caught
/
Unassociated
Alaska
British Columbia
California
Hawaii
Oregon
Washington
Western & Central Pacific Ocean
New York to North Carolina
Connecticut to Maine
South Carolina to Texas
Fish caught using Fish Aggregating Devices that lead to high bycatch
A slash is used to separate different market names for the same fish.
A type of purse seine with low bycatch; also called a school set because the net is set on a free-swimming
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3 thoughts on “What Fish is Safe to Eat?

  1. Pingback: What Fish is Safe to Eat? (via La Chica Organica™) « Health is a Habit's Blog

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