We all know the benefits of eating more fish. Many contain Omega-3 fatty acids which help lower blood pressure, keep blood vessels healthy, are good for the brain, skin and eyes and reduce inflammation. Fish is low in calories, low in saturated fats and reduces the risk of heart disease, but buying the “right” fish is getting more confusing. There are two main reasons. Worldwide the demand for seafood is increasing. Scientists estimate that we have removed as much as 90 percent of the large predatory fish such as shark, swordfish and cod from the world’s oceans and warned that the oceans are in a state of “silent collapse”.
Secondly, seafood is contaminated with mercury (affecting brain function and development), industrial chemicals and pesticides. These toxins make their way from land to the smallest plants and animals on the bottom of the ocean. Smaller species are eaten by larger ones so that predatory fish like swordfish and shark end up with the most toxins. Destructive fishing and fish farming practices add to the problem.
The answer? Get informed on which fish contain the most contaminants and which species are overfished. Download a wallet-size “Yes Fish, No Fish” list from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. Eat a variety of fish to ease the pressure of popular species. Farmed shellfish has low environmental impact. Wild Alaskan fish and small local fish in season are good choices. Through awareness and better practices, we can keep oceans abundant and fish healthy for everyone.