Doctors are encouraging patients to switch to a heart-healthy diet that often includes seafood. Since the 1950s, many Americans have revamped their diets to focus on fish, thereby making sushi extremely popular.
Mindful eating means focusing both on fishery sustainability and on health impacts of fish that have bioaccumulated known toxins.
Toxins in Fish
Fish that live in the waters along the coast, especially bottom-feeders such as white croakers, often contain high levels of toxins that can be harmful to those who eat the fish on a regular basis. Health officials recommend limiting the amount of fish that is consumed from local waters and removing all fatty parts (where the chemicals, such as DDT, are concentrated) before cooking.
For more information about harmful toxin counts in local fish catch, contact Los Angeles County Department of Health Services Toxics Epidemiology Program at 213-738-3220.
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch provides current and regional recommendations for what to eat based on the sustainability of the fishery.
Dr. Sylvia Earle, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, has logged thousands of hours underwater and has seen firsthand the depletion of fish stocks in our recent history. “We’re trying to support the taste for wildlife from the sea for a growing population, and that just simply doesn’t work – there aren’t enough fish in the sea. We have ample evidence that large-scale extraction of wildlife has very narrow limits. We have exceeded them repeatedly. So we see overly ambitious extraction of cod, herring, tuna, swordfish, halibut. These populations in my lifetime have simply collapsed by 90%. Many of the fish we consume have been taken – and we’ve done it in a few decades, with new technologies that did not exist when I was a child.”