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By Mila McManus, MD

There’s trouble with seafood. Our oceans are not as pristine as they used to be. Some of the largest contributors to ocean pollution include:

  • Runoff when heavy rainstorms draw road oils and pollutants from the ground into rivers and oceans.
  • Manufacturing plants in some areas of the world release toxic waste into the water, including mercury.
  • Oil spills from ships.
  • Plastic bags, cups, bottles, and other items thrown out and carried by the wind which fail to decompose.

Another issue is how the seafood is harvested. Because of demand, many species are over-fished. Because of cost, many are harvested in destructive ways which end up harming the ocean ecosystem and threatening fish populations.

With all this in mind, here is a list of seafood with the lowest mercury content, highest Omega 3 content, and least threatened:

  • Shrimp
  • Oysters
  • Mussels
  • Sardines
  • Salmon from New Zealand, California, Oregon, Washington, and Alaska
  • Freshwater Trout
  • Pollock
  • Atlantic Mackerel
  • Anchovies
  • Herring
  • Shad
  • Butterfish
  • Crab

There are other great options low in mercury and sustainably harvested, though not as recognized for their Omega 3 content including:

  • Scallops
  • Catfish
  • Clams
  • Crayfish
  • Rockfish from Alaska, California, Oregon, and Washington
  • Squid from California
  • Tilapia from Canada, Ecuador, Peru, and US
  • Skipjack Tuna from Pacific waters

If you don’t see your favorite on the list, then it is very high in mercury, and/or unsustainably caught, and/or the species population is threatened.

Eat Well, Be Well.

References:

https://www.texasdisposal.com/blog/ocean-pollution-causes-effects-and-prevention/

SeafoodWatch.org, Consumer Guide to Sustainable Seafood

Center For Science in the Public Interest, Seafood Recommendation Guide for pregnant, breast feeding and young children with lower mercury and increased Omega 3’s. www.cspinet.org

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