Safe Fish to Eat - Where are They?

Safe fish to eat can be found by looking for certification labels or documentation related to the companies who are selling the fish. This is really important if you want to find safe fish.

I began searching the Internet back at the beginning of this century. The only place I found was Vital Choice and they provided both wild caught salmon and albacore tuna which were important to me at that time. They provided really good information as well.

They have continued to be a leader in their industry and hold tight to their integrity. Through this company I became knowledgeable about what to look for so I could go into any healthy food store and pick out reasonably safe fish to eat.

When I have money, I always buy my fish from Vital Choice. But in lean times, I have to rely on buying fish locally or do without. Learning what to look for is very important.

You would do well to become familiar with this third party certifier of reputable fisheries. You'll find links to their website among other valuable references at the bottom of this page. You'll be able to track down safe fish to eat, hopefully wherever you live.

  • Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). This is an independent non-profit organization that promotes responsible fishing practices.

Look for sustainable fishery sources as a start. But there's more to know...

Who Knows Best About Fish?

Our cat. Tasha was our Ragdoll cat and she had a weak immune system when we got her as a baby. Over the years, we found the best thing to feed her was raw tuna fish. This worked for several years. As you can see, she grew up to be a big cat. Tasha Interrupting Janis Not as big as she looks though. She had a lot of fur and, she was very proud of it. In this picture, she was reminding me that it was time to eat.

Mercury in Fish?

But... with all our successes, there was a point that Tasha didn't seem to be doing so well. I got concerned about mercury finding it's way into the ocean and into our fish and thought that might have something to do with it. We switched her over to raw beef, and then bison. She did okay for about three years and then I could see she wearing down again. I would always look to the food to see if I could improve it.

I did a little research on the Internet and found some good albacore tuna to try. It was very expensive, but we decided to give it a shot anyway.

There was a remarkable change in Tasha at that point. She became very relaxed and happy again. She was getting on in years and we didn't like seeing her moping around. But the price seemed to be a little much to spend on cat food.

After the first month on this high quality fish, I decided to try the less expensive fish from the health food store again. This was still good quality so I hoped it would contain less mercury. We had her on this for a month and I noticed her attitude had changed again for the worse. She seemed angry or sulky or upset more often than not. So... there really seemed to be a difference.

We went back to the more expensive albacore and it was dramatic. She settled right down and seemed peaceful again - pleasant to be around. We took the win and I had to do some research to find out what was really going on. Pretty odd!

Selenium Binds with Mercury in Fish

Three surprises appeared. Was it really mercury in the tuna that was causing Tasha to demonstrate a personality change? Here's a video that may have bearing on it.

The second surprise had to do with the size of the fish. As they grow, they eat the smaller fish and with them come a little mercury with each one. Mercury builds up since it is not eliminated unless there is enough selenium to counter the mercury accumulation. In reference to the video above, I can not honestly say that I believe the larger tuna would have a lot of selenium to balance out the mercury in the larger tuna. I've read other indications that tuna is more prone to accumulating mercury than salmon. It is still a question but this third factor might just cover what was happening to Tasha. She definitely had a personality shift.

The pollutants found in the ocean like PCB's (Polychlorinated Biphenyl which cause brain problems) and POP's (Persistent organic pollutants which can cause developmental and behavioral problems) were also more prevalent in the larger fish. If these are present where fish are found, this would be a factor, in my opinion.

So What's the Difference and Why?

The good albacore was a very young tuna from Vital Choice, a sustainable fishery source, It was from a fishery that was certified by the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council). The other was a larger albacore tuna, and not certified. When I compared the two, the expensive tuna had less water in the tissue, was more dense with less connective tissue. At that point I decided to ensure I purchased fish from a sustainable and certified fishery .

Tasha was still hungry after eating the cheaper tuna but satisfied after eating the expensive kind. My conclusion was this: the more expensive tuna is nutrient dense, so less is required but the cheaper tuna had more mercury or other pollutants in it causing Tasha to feel upset most of the time.

Statistics Shed Light

I did further research on this and found some interesting statistics. Even though this data was from the 1990's, it had some value and still does. Our oceans have only gotten more polluted since then, whether it be with mercury or toxic chemicals.

Tuna was on the list. Evidently I was not able to get a young enough tuna from the health food store. Plus, it was not certified by the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) which indicated that the fishery may not have been in a clean sustainable location. Can you begin to get an idea of what to look for and why when wanting to purchase really safe fish to eat?

Here's that list of fish indicating the amounts of mercury.

Statistics of High Levels of Mercury

  • Shark - .98
  • Swordfish - .97
  • Kink Mackeral - .73
  • Tuna - .34

Low Levels of Mercury

  • Sardines - .016
  • Salmon - .014

Mercury Levels - Comparison


  • Albacore Tuna - .08
  • Halibut - .08
  • Sable - .07


  • Albacore Tuna - .34
  • Halibut - .26
  • Sable - .22

Are Fish Farms Safe?

I'm not convinced yet that fish farms are sustainable. Here's what is happening to our wild salmon in British Columbia.

Pass over the fish farms when you are looking for safe fish to eat until further notice. When they are passing off sea lice to real baby salmon, we'll soon be out of real fish and our quality sea foods are gone.

Help us make a difference on this planet. Demand real food. This includes fish from the sea.

References to Safe Fish To Eat

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an independent non-profit organization that promotes responsible fishing practices. You can find their blue certification logo on products that come from their certified fisheries. This is assurance that the health and future of the fish are considered by the fishery and the result is healthy food ending up on your table which keeps you eating right.

One point here to know though about safe fish to eat, the younger the fish, the less mercury in them. Not all fish approved by the MSC are young. I just happened to locate some younger tuna. The salmon is a safer fish when it comes to mercury as it seems to have very little anyway.

As of 2013, we quit eating fish other than Vital Choice. We were eating MSC certified canned tuna purchased from a reputable grocery store for about a year but when their quality went down, I happened to notice that they were no longer being certified by MSC. That is something to keep an eye on.

Please feel free to email me if you have questions or comments. I am always happy to respond.

P.S. I did join the Vital Choice Affiliate Program many years ago. Right now you can enjoy 10% off your first purchase with Vital Choice by using the code: VCAFINT during checkout.