Fish Consumption Advice
To enjoy the benefits of eating fish while minimizing exposure to mercury, you should:
- eat mainly types of fish low in mercury, and
- limit your consumption of types of fish with typically higher levels of mercury.
Fish are important in a healthy diet. They are a lean, low-calorie source of protein. However, some fish may contain methylmercury or other harmful chemicals at sufficiently high levels to be a concern.
Federal, state and local governments issue fish consumption advisories when fish are unsafe to eat. The advisories may suggest that people avoid eating certain kinds or certain amounts of fish. Some advisories apply to specific water types (like specific lakes). Some may focus on groups of particularly sensitive people (e.g., women of childbearing age). Some advisories include notices of "no restriction" to tell us that certain fish are safe to eat. As states increase the waters they monitor for contaminated fish, both the number of advisories and the waters where it is safe to eat fish are increasing.
The degree of exposure to mercury is derived from both the amount and the type of fish eaten. The key factor to an individual's health is related to the amount and type of fish the individual consumes. If you are concerned for your health or your family's as a result of exposure to mercury, get in touch with your health care provider. They will be able to tell you if mercury exposure is a problem for you and what to do about it.
- EPA information:
- EPA-FDA Joint Federal Advisory for Mercury in Fish: “What You Need to Know About Mercury in Fish and Shellfish” | PDF version (2 pp., 234K, About PDF) -- advice for women who may become pregnant, pregnant women, nursing mothers and the parents of young children.
- Fish Consumption Advisories website - general information on fish advisories, public information materials, technical guidance
- National Listing of Fish Advisories Where You Live Map - a state-by-state map that provides links to state, tribal and territorial fish advisory programs.
- Search by waterbody, advisory type, fish species or pollutant for fish advisories and fish tissue contaminant data
- View a list of state-by-state list of fish advisory contacts and websites
- Information from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA):
- Great Lakes Information Network: