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Fish You Should Avoid Eating And Why

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We’ve all heard it.   You should eat fish..It’s REALLY good for you…Eat it at least TWICE a week.  MMMMMMM……Okay.  You don’t have to convince me.  I LOVE fish.    Grill it, bake it, cover it with a delicious cheesy sauce and I’m one happy camper.  But….The list of “good fish” to eat changes year after year.  That being said,  there are still some fish that, no matter what happens, you should ALWAYS avoid.  Are you ready?  Here’s the list.

1. Imported Catfish

90% of the catfish imported to the US comes from Vietnam, where the use of antibiotics that are banned in the US, is still used.  Yuk!  The two varieties of Vietnamese catfish sold in the US, Swai and Basa, are not really considered catfish by the federal government, so they aren’t held to the same inspection rules that other imported catfish are.  So….Eat at your own discretion.  I suggest that you just say NO.

Alternative:

Eat domestic, farm raised catfish.  Since it is farmed, it is plentiful, making it one of the best fish you can eat.

2. Caviar

Like I’d eat this anyway..Now I have a super great reason to avoid it at any cost.  Caviar from Beluga and wild caught Sturgeon are being threatened by an increase in dam building which pollutes the water that they live in.  All forms of caviar come from fish that take a long time to mature, and it takes a long time to rebound. The fish may be living in their own filth for a really long time.  That’s appetizing.

Alternative:

If you absolutely have to eat caviar, (you sophisticated thing you), eat fish eggs from American Lake Sturgeon or American Hackleback Shovelnose Sturgeon from the Mississippi River.

3. Atlantic Cod

Chronic mismanagement by the National Marine Fisheries Service,  and low stock status make it difficult to recommend.  Atlantic Cod stocks collapsed in the mid 90′s and now the fish are just one step above endangered on the International Union for Conservation of Natures Red List of Threatened Species.

Alternative:

Pacific Cod is one of the best fish picks you can make.

4. Imported Shrimp

90% of Shrimp in the US is imported so it’s hard to avoid.  Which means it can contain nasty stuff like mouse hair, rat hair, pieces of insects, residues from chemicals, and more. Now I’m really grossed out. Less than 2 percent of all imported seafood gets inspected before its sold.

Alternative:

Always buy Domestic Shrimp.  Period.

5. American Eel

American Eel is contaminated with PCB’s and Mercury. The fisheries are also suffering from pollution and over harvesting.

Alternative:

Eat Atlantic or Pacific caught squid instead.  Yes..Squid.  Hey…you were willing to eat eel…In my mind, they are about the same.

6. Atlantic Flatfish

This group of fish include flounder, sole, and halibut that are caught off the Atlantic coast.  They are back on the bad list because of heavy contamination and overfishing that dates all the way back to the 1800s.

Alternative:

Pacific Halibut or white fish, like catfish or tilapia.

7. Imported King Crab

Most Imported King Crab comes from Russia, where limits on fish harvesting are not strongly enforced.  The crab also suffer from being misnamed…. Often called Alaskan King Crab, which is a completely separate animal.  Alaskan King Crab is much more responsibly harvested than the imported stuff.

Alternative:

Since it’s impossible to tell by reading a label if iit comes from Alaska or if its imported, make sure you ask a knowledgeable person at the store, if it is domestic or imported. A whopping 70% is imported, so it’s important to know the facts and go domestic.

8. Orange Roughy

Really?!  Orange Roughy?  I thought this was really good for you.  As it turns out, it has high levels of mercury.  Many restaurant chains refuse to serve it, because it has such a reputation for being overharvested.

Alternative:

Eat yellow snapper or domestic catfish to get the same texture as orange roughy in your recipes.

9. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

ABT has the highest levels of mercury of any type of tuna.  Bluefin tuna are severely overharvested, to the point of reaching near extinction levels, and are considered critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  It’s recommended that you give it up completely.

Alternative:

Eat albacore tuna, which is caught while it is young, and doesn’t have high levels of mercury.

10. Shark

Predatory fish are extremely high in mercury, and with fewer sharks around, it is affecting the ecosystem.  The jellyfish, cownose rays and other species are increasing affecting the depletion of scallops and other fish we rely on.

Alternative:

Try Pacific halibut and Atlantic mackeral.

11. Finally our list ends with Chilean Sea Bass.

Most Chilean Sea Bass are captured illegally, and unless people stop eating this fish, the entire species could be commercially extinct within five years.  Chilean Sea Bass are also high in mercury.

Alternative:

Try Haddock.  It has the same feel as well as texture and is grown in the US.

 

 

 

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