Healthy-Seafood Guide 

Suggestions for how often to eat the most common fish, based on mercury levels and whether the way they were farmed or caught damages the oceans 

Photo by Charles Schiller

Real Simple asked Tim Fitzgerald, a marine scientist for the Oceans program of the nonprofit organization Environmental Defense, to list the healthiest picks for you―and for the environment. You can download and cut out a foldable pocket-size guide.

* Because this fish is high in mercury or other contaminants, those who are pregnant, nursing, of child-bearing age, or feeding young children should avoid it entirely. 

Twice a Week:

  • Catfish, U.S.
  • Caviar, U.S. farmed
  • Char, Arctic; farmed
  • Clams, farmed
  • Crab, Dungeness and stone
  • Herring, Atlantic
  • Mackerel, Atlantic
  • Mussels, farmed
  • Salmon, wild Alaskan
  • Scallops, bay; farmed
  • Shrimp, U.S. farmed
  • Striped bass, farmed
  • Sturgeon, farmed
  • Tilapia, U.S.
  • Trout, rainbow; farmed

Once a Week:

  • Halibut, Pacific
  • Sablefish (a.k.a. black cod), Alaska or Canada
  • Tuna, albacore (a.k.a. white); canned or fresh; U.S. or Canada*

Once a Month:

  • Basa or tra (a.k.a. catfish), Vietnam
  • Clams, wild
  • Cod, Pacific
  • Crab, blue*
  • Crab, king; U.S.
  • Crab, snow (a.k.a. tanner)
  • Flounder and sole, Pacific
  • Lobster, American or Maine
  • Mahimahi
  • Sablefish (a.k.a. black cod); California, Oregon, or Washington Salmon, wild; California, Oregon, or Washington
  • Scallops, sea; New England or Canada
  • Shrimp, northern; U.S. or Canada Shrimp, wild; U.S.
  • Squid
  • Swordfish, U.S.*
  • Tilapia, Latin America
  • Tuna, albacore (a.k.a. white); canned; imported*
  • Tuna, light; canned
  • Tuna, yellowfin (a.k.a. ahi); U.S.*


Try to Avoid:

  • Caviar, imported wild
  • Chilean sea bass*
  • Cod, Atlantic
  • Crab, king; imported
  • Crawfish, China
  • Flounder and sole, Atlantic
  • Grouper*
  • Haddock
  • Halibut, Atlantic
  • Monkfish
  • Orange roughy*
  • Rockfish, Pacific
  • Salmon, farmed or Atlantic
  • Shark*
  • Shrimp and prawns, imported
  • Skate
  • Snapper, red
  • Swordfish, imported*
  • Tilapia, Asia
  • Tuna, bluefin*
  • Tuna, yellowfin (a.k.a. ahi); imported*