Which Types of Fish are Low in Mercury?

fish low in mercury

Which Types of Fish are Low in Mercury?

It seems widespread that omega 3 fatty acids are beneficial for heart health; however, clients are often concerned about the amount of mercury in fish leading to birth defects or learning disabilities.  Mercury is a toxic, global contaminate that does not break down in the environment and can build up in living things.  Today’s blog will explore this concern in greater detail and highlight the types of fish that are low mercury.


How does Mercury get into Fish?  

Mercury can be released naturally into the environment from rocks, soil, forest fires and volcanoes.  Human activity is also responsible for increasing mercury in our atmosphere through industry practices like metal mining and coal-fired power generation.   When mercury is released into the water, the fish can absorb it.  However, the larger, long-living predatory fish generally end up with the largest amounts of methyl mercury.  Fish such as grouper, swordfish, shark, pike, bass, marlin, some types of tuna (albacore, bigeye, blackfin, bluefin) and the marine mammals are all high in mercury.

Health Canada recommendations for fish consumption Click To Tweet

Dietary Guidance:

Health Canada advises the public to consume predatory fish (listed above) only occasionally due to the high mercury level.  High risk population groups like children and pregnant women should limit their intake of high-mercury fish to less than 2.5 ounces per month.  High risk groups should also limit consumption of albacore (white) tuna.

Salmon fillet

Best Fish Options:

As promised, here is a list of Low Mercury fish choices:

  • Clams
  • Crab
  • Herring
  • Mackerel
  • Mussels
  • Pollock
  • Salmon, canned or wild
  • Sardines
  • Scallops
  • Sole
  • Steelhead trout
  • Tilapia
  • Tuna, canned light
What fish are low in mercury? Click To Tweet

Bottom Line:

When selecting fish, be mindful of choosing types low in mercury and consuming predatory fish occasionally.  There are various health benefits associated with fish consumption and research studies have found that people who eat fish have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who eat very little or no fish.  Fish is an excellent source of protein and fatty fish have omega 3 fatty acids that decrease risk for heart attack, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and macular degeneration.  Heart and Stroke Foundation advises consumption of fatty fish 2-3 times per week.