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The FDA’s Mercury Advice

In March 2004, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (link) issued the following joint advice for women who might become pregnant, women who are pregnant, nursing mothers and young children:

1. Do not eat shark, swordfish, king mackerel or tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.

2. Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.

Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock and catfish.

3. Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you should limit your consumption of albacore tuna and tuna steaks to 6 oz. (one average meal) per week.

Low-Mercury, Ocean-Friendly Options

Some fish that are low in mercury and come from fisheries that cause little damage to habitat and other wildlife include:

- farmed clams, mussels and oysters
- Atlantic, chub or jack mackerel
- US-farmed tilapia
- wild Alaska salmon
- farmed Arctic char (Canada, Iceland, US)
- farmed striped bass
- pole- and troll-caught mahi mahi
- sablefish (black cod)
- Squid
- dungeness, king and stone crabs
- US-farmed catfish
- US-farmed shrimp
- Pacific cod


For More Information

- Check out What You Need To Know About Mercury In Fish and Shellfish on the FDA website.

- Check out Mercury Levels In Commercial Fish and Shellfish on the FDA website.

- Download Oceana's Guide to Ocean-Friendly Seafood, which includes flags on high-mercury fish.