Fish & risk of mercury-poisoning.

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 30, 2009 5:24 PM GMT
    Hi guys! Having done some research for myself, I thought I'd share this here... fish being one of the leanest and most complete sources of proteins, some of you might be eating more than the recommended weekly quantity to avoid mercury-poisoning issues. I know I am, and was a little concerned, so I investigated different options.

    It seems like the safest bet is pangasius. It's a relative new-comer on the fish market... Viet Nam started developing its fish-farming in the mid-90ies, and the international market for it has been growing ever since.

    It's a fresh-water fish, and since most if not all pangasius found in our fish markets come from vietnamese fish farms, it's pretty much free of any mercury (might have traces of it, but not significantly so). Which means you could eat as much of it as you want without risking mercury-poisoning.

    Another positive aspect is that pangasius fish-farming is considered more environmentally friendly than many other types of fish-farming, and it's helping the economy of a country still to this day suffering from the scars left by a disastrous war.

    The main downsides? For the animal-friends among you... they pack these fishes pretty tightly in those tanks, so it's a very industrial process. Whether the fishes actually suffer from confinement... who knows... it might still be a better option overall than depleting the wild populations. Also, they do artificially provoke ovulation in order to drastically increase reproduction rates. I didn't find any evidence that this had any negative impact whatsoever on the healthy properties of the fish meat, but thought I'd mention it nonetheless, for those of you who are a bit paranoied about such things (but quite frankly... it's very likely nothing compared to heavy intakes of mercury from eating wild fish).

  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 30, 2009 6:43 PM GMT
    I found a handy guide here that talks all about fish from an ecological standpoint. The more ecological the process, the less pollutants (such as mercury) get into the product.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 31, 2009 1:32 PM GMT
    [quote]The more ecological the process, the less pollutants (such as mercury) get into the product.[/quote]

    I'll have to disagree with the reasoning here. While I am all for ecological processes... what they do is preserve the environment, not make the food healthier. The reverse is also true, a process could technically be an ecological disaster without necessarily making the food more harmful for the health of those who eat it.

    That list, for instance, would consider yellowfin tuna to be "eco-best", because it's caught by stroll/poll, a very ecologically-safe way to fish, which doesn't run the risk of depleting populations. That tuna is nonetheless a large predator, and its meat would have high concentrations of mercury, no matter how it was caught.

    Still an interesting bit of information as ecological concerns are every bit as important as health concerns on the long run. I'd be curious to see how they'd rate pangasius fish-farming... but it's not on that list, maybe too much of a newcomer on the fish-farming industry?
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 31, 2009 3:58 PM GMT
    You do have a good point, sir.

    Glancing over the list again, fish that is farmed tends to rate higher than fish which is not (14 farmed fish were Eco-best, 1 was eco-god-freakin'-awful). I would imagine it would be better, but fish farmed in China and fed processed corn grown with petro-fertilizers has a carbon footprint bigger than a yeti's.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
    Log in to view his profile

    Mar 31, 2009 5:49 PM GMT
    The mercury content of tuna varies according to species. Albacore has a lot more mercury than some of the other varieties, like tongol tuna.