Cleanest Fish To Eat

Since the dawn of time, seafood has always been a part of the human experience. For humans, partaking in the blessings that the seas have to offer us is almost no different from us breathing; this is simply a fact. But how do we determine which fish or kelp will be good or bad for us?

What is the cleanest fish to eat? According to experts, the six healthiest types of fish are the Albacore tuna, salmon, oysters, sardines from the Pacific, Rainbow Trout, and the Freshwater Coho salmon.

This article aims to discuss seafood and discuss which seafood is healthy for you and which fish you should avoid eating.

What Is Seafood?

Seafood is a form of sea life and sea flora that is regarded as food by humans. This cuisine typically features fish and shellfish. Shellfish include many mollusks such as clams, oysters, and cephalopods, crustaceans like crabs, shrimps, lobsters, and echinoderms such as sea cucumbers and sea urchins.

Historically, humans have also hunted cetaceans like whales and dolphins, and seals for consumption, but that effort has dramatically lessened in much more modern times. In Asia, edible sea flora like seaweed and microalgae are widely eaten as vegetables.

The practice of harvesting wild seafood is concisely called hunting or fishing, while the cultivation of seafood is dubbed as aquaculture or fish farming.

Because seafood is colloquially distinguished from meat, some vegetarians only consume seafood as their source of protein. These people are called pescetarians.

The 6 Healthiest Seafood You Can Eat

If you like keeping track of your diet, you probably know that humans are supposed to ingest seafood at least twice a week. Fish are a healthy and lean source of protein. Fish with oily meat like salmon, sardines, and tunas have heart and brain-healthy omega-3 fats that do wonders for everybody’s diet.

But of course, knowing which seafood is healthy for you can be quite a struggle since there are loads of different cuisines and types in the world. That being said, what do we need to watch out for when we eat seafood?

What are the healthiest options we can intake for the optimal benefit of our bodies? According to experts, here are the six healthiest types of seafood that you can eat.

Albacore Tuna

Tuna is usually high in mercury content, but Albacore tuna, usually the kind of white tuna that is canned, gets a super green rating as long as it is “troll or pole caught” in the U.S. or British Columbia.

Smaller and younger fish, usually less than 20 pounds, have proportionately less mercury count and fewer contamination ratings than larger fish with higher omega-3 concentrations.

Salmon

Salmon fisheries in Alaska are pristine and well-managed. So well managed that biologists are posted at river mouths to keep track of how much wild salmon return to spawn. Once they see that the numbers dwindle, the fisheries are closed and are allowed to recuperate before reaching their limits.

Such close monitoring of the fisheries, along with the strict implementation of quotas and careful management of water quality, ultimately means that salmon fisheries in Alaska are more sustainable than any other fisheries out there. Alaska’s wild-caught salmon boasts 1,210 mg of omega-3s per 3 ounces of serving with minimal contaminants.

Oysters

Oysters that have been farmed can be very beneficial to a balanced diet. They contain over 300 mg of omega-3 per 3 ounces and about a third of your recommended daily iron intakes.

Oysters are not only beneficial to health but the environment as well. They feed off of the natural nutrients in the water and algae, which help improve water quality.

They also act as natural reefs since they attract and provide food for various species of marine life. Beware of eating raw shellfish, though. Raw shellfish, especially those that come from warm waters, may contain many bacteria that can cause health issues.

Sardines

You heard it right. These humble and inexpensive fish make it into the list with good reason. Don’t be deceived by their size: these babies pack more omega-3s than any other fish in this list, clocking at about 1,950 mg per 3 ounces, as well as one of the few foods to naturally be rich in vitamin D.

Many fish that belong to the herring family are dubbed sardines. Because sardines can procreate and reproduce quickly, they have since bounced back from being overfished in the 1940s.

Rainbow Trout

Because lake trout are usually high in contaminants, trouts that you can find in the market are usually grown as a solution to this, and

Rainbow trouts are no exception. In the U.S., rainbow trout are farmed in freshwater ponds and raceways so that they are protected and can be kept from contaminants that can damage or reduce their quality.

These trout are also fed a fish meal diet that has been fine-tuned to conserve resources among fisheries.

Freshwater Coho Salmon

Freshwater Coho salmons are unique since they are the first – and only – farmed salmon to get a Super Green rating. Other salmon farms are still on Monterey Bay’s “avoid” list for various reasons.

One of these is that many farms use crowded pens where the salmon can easily be infected by parasites and, in turn, spread disease towards other wild marine life. Though these may be treated with antibiotics, it is much easier said than done.

It can also take as much as 3 pounds of wild fish to raise a pound of salmon, so the current method isn’t the most cost-effective. The problems stated above do not apply to freshwater Coho salmon.

Coho salmon are raised in closed, freshwater pens, requiring less feed, making them very environmentally friendly. These salmon are a great source of omega-3s since a 3-ounce serving delivers 1,025 mg.

Fish You Should Avoid Eating

We have talked about fish that can be incredibly beneficial to your diet and the environment as well. Now, it’s time to touch upon some fish that might be problematic on plates instead of in the ocean.

Environmental institutions have long advocated taking a lot of species of fish off the menu. The fish listed below are examples of popular seafood left alone by themselves in the sea and not be food.

Bluefin Tuna

The bluefin tuna debuted into the World Wildlife Fund’s list of endangered species in December 2009, along with the giant panda, tigers, and the leatherback turtle.

However, even though environmental institutions continue to advocate for the bluefin tuna’s protection, this fish continues to command upwards of 170,000 dollars in the market.

Furthermore, bluefin tuna has high levels of mercury and PCBs that can endanger one’s health, that the EDF recommends not eating this fish at all.

Chilean Sea Bass, a.k.a. Patagonian Toothfish

The Chilean sea bass has been hunted near extinction from its native cold waters of the Antarctic for their very buttery meat. Since their life cycles cannot keep up with the pace, they were being hunted. They have been classified as endangered.

Not only that, the tools used to catch Chilean sea bass – trawlers and longlines – can also damage the seafloor and harm other seabirds.

At present, there is only one MSC-approved farm for the Chilean sea bass. Furthermore, the EDF has issued a consumption advisory for the Chilean sea bass since it contains high levels of mercury.

Grouper

The grouper is also prone to overfishing since it takes quite a long time for them to reproduce. However, the EDF has also issued a consumption advisory for these fish because they contain high amounts of mercury in their bodies.

Monkfish

The monkfish and the catfish are somewhat similar in that they both have whiskers and bottom-dwellers. Their difference, however, lies in their meat. The monkfish has a fresh taste that is the staple of gourmets and chefs across the globe.

Though this fish species is recovering from being overfished, the trawlers some fishers use still threaten to damage their habitats.

Orange Roughy

Like the grouper, this fish is also prone to overfishing since they take some time to procreate. Orange roughy can live around 100 years, making them possibly older than your grandmother. Their longevity also causes them to have high mercury concentrations in their bodies.

Salmon (Farmed)

Most farmed salmon and Atlantic salmon are raised in tightly packed, open-net pens, often packed with parasites and diseases that can contaminate the salmon being raised and their ancestral habitats once they return to their spawning waters. These salmon have high enough PCB levels to warrant a health advisory from the EDF.

Conclusion

Seafood has been a part of a person’s experience. Consumption of seafood is excellent if you’re either on a diet or just eating seafood because you enjoy its highly appealing taste.

While eating seafood is enjoyable in its own right, it is also our responsibility as consumers to know what seafood is good for us and what seafood we should avoid. Maintaining this balance not only helps us but, by extension, helps the environment around us.