It is no surprise that we humans love our fish. We have been eating fish as part of our diet for more than five million years. Today, there are hundreds of different varieties of fish and even more ways to prepare them, making fish nearly irresistible for a seafood connoisseur. But there are some fish that we should all be staying away from.
Here are the twelve most important to stop eating immediately and the reasons why.
1. Atlantic Flatfish
The group known as Atlantic flatfish include flounder, sole and halibut from the Atlantic. They are not only contaminated, they are far too few to be fished. The population is only 1% of what it needs to be to sustain fishing.
2. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna
Some of the news media has done investigations into Atlantic Bluefin tuna and found that they contain dangerously high levels of mercury. However, they are also approaching extinction and are listed as “critically endangered.”
3. Atlantic Salmon
Both wild and domestic salmon should be avoided from the Atlantic, once again because of population problems. In fact, this salmon is actually illegal to capture. Farmed salmon should also be avoided because of the conditions they are bred and raised in, which is not only cruel, but perpetuates disease, parasite infections and other problems that require fish to be filled with antibiotics and pesticide.
4. Atlantic Cod
Why those in New England who make their living from these fish might fly into a fury at the suggestion of avoiding them, but this species is only one step from being on the endangered list.
Caviar is definitely in danger because of over fishing, but dams, water pollution and the slow maturity rate are also responsible for this popular and increasingly rare species.
6. Imported King Crab
Most of the imported King Crab comes to us from Russia but unfortunately, these crustaceans are often labeled Alaskan king crab nonetheless.
Alaskan king crab is fine to eat, because those populations are being watched and replenished, but imported king crab continues to suffer decline.
7. Orange Roughy
Orange roughy is another fish with high mercury levels, but they also take decades to reach maturity and propagate which puts them in severe danger of disappearing.
Sharks suffer from dangerous mercury levels as well, but like spiders, sharks help keep fish populations down that eat some of the fish most eaten and sharks could disappear if fishing continues.
9. Chilean Sea Bass
Unfortunately, most of the sea bass sold in the United States was caught illegally and unless consumption of this fish stops it will be gone within five years.
10. Imported Shrimp
Imported shrimp suffer the indignity of being known as one of the dirtiest seafood items available. That, and the fact that only 10% of the shrimp in the U.S. isn’t imported, is reason enough to avoid them.
11. Imported Catfish
Almost all of the catfish sold in the U.S. comes from Vietnam where dangerous antibiotics are used in fish farms, antibiotics that are banned in the United States.
12. American Eel
The eel that often ends up in sushi has high levels of mercury and PCB’s and the farms where they are bred are extremely polluted. Also, they are near endangered population levels.