Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Seafood Choices: Tradeoffs between Omega-3 and Mercury

On EWG web site, it has published a report on seafood choices.  We eat fish or shellfish for the benefits of omega-3s.[1] However, seafood are also high in mercury.[4] Therefore, we need to choose fish based on its omega-3 and mercury levels.  Depending on your age, weight, and gender, EWG makes the following recommendations on what kinds of seafood to eat or avoid.  Calculation are based on 4 oz. serving size.  Note that sustainability is also considered in EWG's recommendations, which is based on the Seafood Watch from Monterey Bay Aquarium.[2,6]

Weekly Mercury
Max Servings per Week
Salmon 13% Best Choice: Wild Alaska 3
Sardines 20% Best Choice: Pacific 3
Mussels 8% Best Choice: farmed 3
13% Best Choice: farmed 3
10% Best Choice: Not Trawled 3
Imitation Crab
15% Good Alternative* 3
Shrimp 8% Variable* 3
Tilapia 5% Best Choice: Equador, U.S., Canada 3
Catfish 5% Best Choice: Farmed U.S. 3
Scallops 10% Good Alternative* 3
(Swai, Basa, Tra)
5% Good Alternative 3
Clams 8% Best Choice 3
Light Tuna
31% Variable* 3
(Plaice, Sole,
31% Good Alternative* 3
145% Avoid* 0
Shark 224% Avoid* 0
Swordfish 227% Variable* 0

: Very High Omega-3s, Low Mercury, Sustainable
: High Omega-3s, Low Mercury
: Low Mercury But Also Low Omega-3s
: Mercury Risks Add Up (Pregnant Women And Children Should Limit Or Avoid)
: Avoid (Mercury Levels Too High To Eat Regularly)


This article was based on a  report from EWG.[3]


  1. Omega-3 Fatty Acids (Travel and Health)
  2. Seafood Watch 2013  (Travel to Wellness)
  3. EWG’s Consumer Guide to Seafood: Executive Summary
  4. Mercury Exposures and Autoimmune Diseases  (Travel to Wellness)
  5. Study: Mislabeled shrimp at restaurants, grocers
    • Oceana said it found about 30 percent of 143 shrimp products bought from 111 vendors were not what the label said. 
  6. There Aren’t Plenty of Fish in the Sea

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