TEMPE, Ariz. When ordering seafood, the options are many and so are some of the things you might consider in what you order. Is your fish healthy? Is it safe? Is it endangered? While there are many services and rankings offered to help you decide there's even an iPhone app a group of researchers have found a simple rule of thumb applies.
"If the fish is sustainable, then it is likely to be healthy to eat too," said Leah Gerber, an associate professor and senior sustainability scientist at Arizona State University.
Gerber and colleagues ran an analysis of existing literature on fish to see which ones are more healthy choices and which seem to be the types that you might want to avoid, due to exposure to contaminants like mercury or due to over-exploitation. Their findings are published in today's (Aug. 2) early on-line version of the Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, a publication of the Ecological Society of America.
In "Sustaining seafood for public health," Gerber and fellow authors Roxanne Karimi, Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, N.Y. , and Timothy Fitzgerald of the Environmental Defense Fund, Washington, DC state that their analysis is the first to bring together the sustainability rankings from several organizations, the health metrics of consumption ranked by various species (like how much omega-3 fatty acids are found in a specific fish type), as well as any known contaminant exposure, and data from several ecological studies on the relative health of specific species.
"In general, larger longer-lived fish are more likely to have exposure to toxins due to the length of their lives and their place on the food chain," Gerber explained. "So you might be best served to stay away from them like Bluefin Tuna or Swordfish. Besides they already are over fished."
Safer choices might be Alaskan Pollock, Atlantic Mackerel or Blue King Crab, said Gerber, a conservation biologist and sushi lov
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Arizona State University