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Everyone, including pregnant woman should eat fish and shellfish. Canada's Food Guide recommends eating at least 2 servings of fish each week (total of 150 grams or 5 ounces) because of the excellent nutritional value.
However, there is a concern about mercury in seafood. Most seafood contains only a tiny amount of this substance. Men and woman who are not in their childbearing years should enjoy a variety of fish, but should limit high mecury fish to 1 serving per week. We can all safely enjoy fish and shellfish in our diets by being aware of the types of seafood to limit or avoid. See below for fish consumption advice for small children, women of childbearing age and pregnant women.
Salmon is one of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids and is an excellent source of high quality protein and low in mercury. Based on Health Canada’s research, salmon is safe as well as healthy for you and your children. However, some concerns have been raised that salmon may contain a small amount of PCBs. To lower the amounts of pollutants remove inner organs, the skin, and some of the brown fatty meat from fish before cooking and grill or broil the fish for a healthy choice.
What about raw fish?
Raw fish may contain parasites or bacteria and should not be consumed by pregnant woman as it could lead to illness and/or fetal complications. Fresh or frozen tuna which are high in mercury maybe be found in some sushi and sashimi dishes.
Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating at least 2 servings of fish each week
(each serving = 75 grams, or 2.5 ounces)
Eat Every Day
Fish that are good choice for you and your family to eat every day
- Kamaboko (fish cake; processed white fish)
- Salmon (Chum, Coho, Pink, canned, wild pacific) ♥
- Sea urchin
(low mercury fish)
2 servings a week for *small children
4 servings a week for women
1-2 servings per month for *small chidlren
2-4 servings per month for women
(high mercury fish)
Mackerel (Atlantic) ♥
Rainbow Trout ♥
Salmon ♥ (unknown, Atlantic, Chinook, Sockeye, Steelhead, Note: most farmed salmon is Atlantic)
Smelt (Atlantic, Lake)
Sole (Dover, Petrale)
Tuna, canned light (skipjack, tongol, yellowfin)
Crab and Lobster
Kingfish (Spanish, King Mackerel)♥
Mahi Mahi (Dolphin Fish)
Tuna steak (skipjack, southern bluefin, yellowfin)
Tuna, canned (white, albacore)
Escolar (Snake Mackerel)♥
Sablefish (Black Cod)
Shark (Spiny Dogfish/Northern Shark, Porbeagle)
Tilefish (Gulf of Mexico)
Tuna Steak (unknown, bigeye)
This fish consumption advice only applies to fish bought at the market or store. If sport fish are consumed refer to the Ministry of the Environment's - Guide to Eating Ontario Fish.
*Small children are between the ages of 1 and 4 years of age and weigh 16.5kg (approximately 36 pounds). If your child is smaller, reduce the serving size of fish.
*Older children ages 5 to 15 years of age can follow the consumption advice for small children, but they can eat a larger serving size.
♥ = Indicates high omega-3 fats (for more information see our Mercury and Fish fact sheet.