Choosing seafood wisely can reduce environmental impact and keep you in good health. Here are some tips from the Smart Seafood Guide 2011:
Avoid the dirty dozen – the twelve most contaminated fish species.
Some of the dirty dozen include cod, farmed salmon, farmed shrimp and tuna. Here is the complete list.
Even if they are not on the dirty dozen list, typically, the larger the fish, the more contaminated they are. This is because our waters our polluted and fish cannot rid themselves of contaminants. The contaminants get trapped in their bodies at higher levels than the surrounding waters. This is bad for all fish, but it gets worse for larger fish. Since larger fish eat smaller fish, they are exposed to higher concentrations of contaminants, increasing their contaminant level. As the fish get larger, their position on the food chain gets higher, meaning they ingest increasing levels on contaminants.
This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever eat larger fish like tuna. Luckily, for a contaminant like mercury, the human body is very good at getting rid of it; however, eating too much can cause a build up of toxins and may cause problems over time.
Eat a variety of seafood.
The reasons are two-fold: to reduce exposure to contaminants and to help reduce the demand of popular fish choices.
Consider invasive species.
Invasive species are species introduced into a habitat to which they are not native. Because they often have no immediate predators, their populations can explode and crowd out native species.
Eating invasive species can help reduce their populations, allowing the native species some breathing room. On the list are various crabs, eel, catfish and carp. They may not be the types you are familiar with, but are worth a try! Here is a guide for selecting invasive species.
Food and Water Watch has a very thorough collection of guides for selecting seafood including an alphabetic list of all fish, a substitution guide for choosing different fish and regional guides for selecting local fish.
Source: Food and Water Watch
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons by laughlin