Many of us vacation by water, and you or someone you're with is bound to do a little fishing. You might be wondering if that fish you catch is safe to eat. Unfortunately, there are no national guidelines on this topic. It all depends on where you fish and if the water is polluted or not.
To find out that information, you can visit the EPA website, click on any state in the U.S., and you will be redirected to that state's specific guidelines. Obviously if you are unsure about the pollution levels of the water, DON'T eat the fish you catch - just release it back into the water.
To lean more about certain types of fish and their level of mercury, check out this helpful poster. It illustrates the level of mercury in many types of fish. For instance catfish is low in mercury, but swordfish is high. Which is good since catfish are a lot easier to catch.
Mercury is dangerous to ingest since it can build up in your bloodstream over time. High levels of it can lead to nervous system problems including brain and nerve damage, so you definitely want to avoid mercury whenever possible. While your body naturally removes mercury, the process can take up to a year. It is especially important for women who are planning on getting pregnant to be conscious about the fish they eat - high mercury levels can harm an unborn baby.
Fit's Tips: It is recommended that you limit your weekly fish intake to 2 servings a week, that is 12 ounces of fish total. If you are not sure about the mercury level of the fish you catch, just eat one serving of that fish but skip it for the rest of the week.