Choose Fish and Shellfish Wisely

Stay Healthy by Eating Fish and Shellfish Wisely

Fish are an important part of a healthy diet. They are a lean, low‐calorie source of protein. However, some fish may contain chemicals that could pose health risks if these fish are eaten in large amounts.


Protect Yourself

EPA works to make information accessible in a variety of formats to encourage people to eat fish as part of a healthy diet. These resources provide information on specific fish species that are safer to eat.

"Should I Eat the Fish I Catch" Brochure

Fisherman holding a salmon he just caught.

The purpose of this brochure is not to discourage you from eating fish. It is to help you select and prepare fish that are low in chemical pollutants. By following these recommendations, you and your family can continue to enjoy the benefits of eating fish.

 

Fresh and Frozen Seafood: Selecting and Serving it Safely

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has developed basic food safety tips for buying, preparing, and storing fish and shellfish to help you and your family safely enjoy the fine taste and good nutrition of seafood.

In addition, FDA and EPA issue advice on eating fish and shellfish for women about 16-49 years old, especially pregnant and breastfeeding women, and young children.

Protect Your Children

The nutritional value of fish is important during growth and development before birth, in early infancy for breastfed infants, and in childhood. The health risks from mercury in fish and shellfish depend on the amount of fish and shellfish a person eats and the levels of mercury in the specific fish and shellfish. Some fish contain higher levels of mercury that may harm an unborn baby or young child's developing nervous system. To address this, EPA and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) joined forces to provide advice on eating fish.

The EPA-FDA “Advice about Eating Fish: What Pregnant Women and Parents Should Know” includes a chart of more than 60 types of fish and shellfish grouped into “best choices,” “good choices” and “choices to avoid.”

The advice recommends that children eat 1 to 2 servings of fish each week from choices that are lower in mercury, but in smaller portion sizes than adults. Children who are 2 to 3 years old should eat 1 ounce per serving, 4 to 7 years old should eat 2 ounces per serving, 8 to 10 years old should eat 3 ounces per serving, and children 11 and older can eat adult-sized portions of 4 ounces.

Women who are pregnant, might become pregnant, or are breastfeeding should eat 2-3 servings of fish each week from the “best choices” group or 1 serving a week from the “good choices” group


Want to learn more?

EPA's Technical Resources provides more information for fish tissue studies information and other fish consumption advisory data and reports.

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