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Fish You Should Avoid Eating
by Chris Malone,posted Apr 16 2013 5:21AM
Prevention magazine worked with the nonprofit Food & Water Watch and developed a list of a dozen fish you should avoid eating and why -- and what you should eat instead.
1. Imported Catfish
Most imported catfish comes from Vietnam where antibiotics--that are banned in the United States--are widely used. Instead, choose domestic, farm-raised catfish, which is responsibly farmed and plentiful.
Caviar from beluga and wild-caught sturgeon are not only susceptible to overfishing, but also the species is threatened by an increase in dam building that pollutes the water in which they live. Instead, opt for fish eggs from American Lake Sturgeon or American Hackleback/Shovelnose Sturgeon caviar from the Mississippi River system.
3. Atlantic Cod
Although cod is economically vital to New England fishermen, the stocks collapsed in the mid-1990s and are still in disarray--to the point that Atlantic cod is one step above being listed as endangered. Instead, eat Pacific cod.
4. American Eel
A frequent addition to sushi dishes, American eel (also known as yellow or silver eel) is highly contaminated with PCBs and mercury. In addition, the fisheries are suffering from pollution and overharvesting. Instead, choose Atlantic or Pacific squid, which has a similar taste as eel.
5. Imported Shrimp
90 percent of the shrimp sold in the United States is imported, and it is packed with contaminants, including antibiotics and residues from chemicals used to clean pens, as well as filth, such as mouse hair, rat hair and pieces of insects. Why? Less than 2 percent of imported shrimp is inspected. Instead, seek out domestic shrimp, which likely comes from the Gulf or Mexico or Oregon.
6. Atlantic Flatfish (Flounder, Sole and Halibut)
Caught off the Atlantic coast, these fish are not only heavily contaminated, but also vastly overfished. Instead, opt for other mild-flavored white-fleshed fish, such as domestically farmed catfish.
7. Atlantic Salmon (both wild-caught and farmed)
The stocks of wild Atlantic salmon are so low that it's actually illegal to fish for them, while salmon farming is very polluting. The fish are crammed into pens and are susceptible to disease and parasites, which require antibiotics. Note that all fish currently labeled "Atlantic salmon" comes from fish farms. Instead, choose wild Alaskan salmon.
8. Imported King Crab
Most imported king crab comes from Russia -- even if it says Alaskan king crab on the label. Alaskan king crab is a separate type of fish that is more responsibly harvested, while in Russia, the limits on fish harvests are not strongly enforced. Instead, look for Alaskan king crab and always ask if it comes from Alaska or is imported.
Shark is extremely high in mercury, which is bad for humans. But overfishing has changed the ecosystem. With less shark in the oceans, there are now more cownose rays and jellyfish, which in turn are depleting other fish, such as scallops. Instead, eat Pacific halibut and Atlantic mackerel.
10. Orange Roughy
This fish not only has high levels of mercury, but also is overfished--so much so that some large restaurant chains, including Red Lobster, refuse to serve it. Instead, opt for yellow snapper or domestic catfish to get the same texture as orange roughy in your recipes.