A Bone of Contention

Infographic courtesy of Good Magazine

Just try to sort out the information on fish.

It’s undeniably healthy: low in saturated fats, high in essential fatty acids, and an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, and trace minerals. But what kind of fish can you eat without worrying about mercury, PCBs, chlorinated pesticides, dioxins, furans, PBDEs, and other nasty contaminants? And what about dwindling fish stocks and damaged habitats from unsustainable fishing practices

There are some basic guidelines that you can follow to help pick seafood that is healthy and sustainable:

Eat low on the food chain.
Smaller fish are unlikely to have high levels of contaminants and tend to be plentiful.

Buy American
Our fishing and farming standards aren’t always the most stringent, but they are consistently reliable.

Farmed vs. Wild: Choose Wild
Head-to-head within a single variety, wild-caught fish is nearly always the better choice for the environment.

And most importantly: Be Informed.
To that end, here are some places to go around the web that can help you make informed, responsible decisions about the fish and shellfish you eat.

Download the Pocket Sushi Selector to your cell phone to guide your choices at the sushi bar.

Understand how choices can impact your health with the FDA Guide to mercury levels in fish and shellfish.

Use the Mercury Calculator to assess the mercury level in your diet.

The Cyber Diver News Network has an easy-to-use guide that identifies commonly available fish and seafood varieties as good, bad, or iffy to steer you toward abundant, well-managed, and sustainable choices.

Click on your state for a Seafood Watch Pocket Guide of ocean-friendly choices where you live or travel.

Stumped by menu options? Text “30644” with the message “FISH” and the name of the fish in question right from the dinner table. Blue Ocean’s FishPhone seafood text messaging service will instantly respond with sustainability data.



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