Are All Fish Edible?


Last updated on September 25th, 2022 at 02:43 am

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Fish is eaten by many people all over the world. For many, it is a staple of their diet. Fish contain a lot of nutrients and are high in omega 3s which is good for our bodies. And some just enjoy the taste of it. 

But, this can prompt an important question. Are all fish edible?

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Generally speaking, about 96 percent of the fish in the world are edible. But even though most fish are okay to eat, this means that some fish shouldn’t be consumed as food. So, no, not all fish are edible.

Are All Fish Edible?

It would seem all seafood is okay for us humans to eat. There is a wide variety of different kinds of it that is available to us to purchase in grocery stores or in restaurants. But, depending on what type of fish you choose to eat, you will either get all of those omega 3-fatty acids your body needs or an inflammatory toxin your body definitely does not want. 

You should pay attention to the fish you are eating so you can stay healthy. 

Some fish are also contaminated with metals, chemicals, parasites, etc that can be harmful to our health. You don’t want to end up sick by eating fish. Because of mining, sewage, fossil fuel emissions, mercury and other heavy metals, fish that swim in the same water that contains this pollution can be devastating to our health if we were to eat them. 

And then there’s fish that are so overfished that there is a limited supply which can be harmful to our ocean ecosystem. By choosing to eat certain fish, you will be healthier and help the environment as well. There are several fish that you are able to eat. 

Some fish that are safe to eat include the following:

  1. Striped Bass and Suzuki Bass
  2. Bluefish
  3. Crawfish
  4. Arrowtooth flounder, California founder, etc.
  5. Pacific Halibut
  6. Hog Snapper Hogfish (from the Gulf of Mexico)
  7. Herrings
  8. Lionfish
  9. Mahi (caught with a fishing pole)
  10. Perch (any type)
  11. Farmed shellfish
  12. Red drum (Redfish)
  13. Alaskan Salmon (wild caught)
  14. Scallops (diver caught)
  15. Pacific Sardines
  16. Atlantic Mackerel
  17. Trout

About 96 percent of the fish in the world are edible. So, don’t worry, there are plenty to choose from for your next seafood meal. However, 4 percent should not be eaten meaning that because of some of the reasons mentioned, some fish just aren’t edible.

What Are The Fish That Should Never Be Eaten?

So, there are many types of fish that we can eat. But there are also some fish that we should avoid eating because of various reasons. They could either make you sick or the fish could be endangered.

So, what are the fish that should never be eaten?

Many fish are high in mercury levels and could be contaminated by pesticides among other things. There are a lot of fish that are overfished, decreasing their population and harming the ocean’s ecosystem.

Before purchasing fish or eating it, you should read the label and ask questions so you are more informed of where the fish came from. By knowing its place of origin, how it was caught, if it was in good or in contaminated water, can help you to know to avoid it or not. 

You should not eat the following fish for the following reasons

  1. King Mackerel
    1. High mercury levels
  2. Shark
    1. Because they are higher up in the food chain, they contain higher mercury levels
    2. Decreasing in population
  3. Swordfish
    1. Mercury level is high
    2. Women and children should avoid it, men are recommended not to eat any more than one serving a month
  4. Tilefish
    1. Overfished
    2. Should be avoided complete due to having some of the the highest mercury levels
  5. Wild Chilean Sea Bass
    1. Overfished
    2. High in mercury levels
    3. Should only be consumed twice a month (per adult)
  6. Orange Roughy
    1. Overfished, 
    2. Declining population, 
    3. High mercury levels, 
    4. Can be dangerous if eaten in large amounts
  7. Atlantic Cod
    1. Heavy fishing has caused this fish to near extinction
  8. Escolar
    1. Contains an indigestible fatty substance making it delicious but eating too much can cause a bad form of diarrhea and intestinal problems
    2. Stick to a serving of 6oz or less
  9. Bluefin Tuna
    1. Overfished
    2. Most tuna contain mercury but this contains high levels of mercury
  10. Red Snapper
    1. Decline in population
    2. May be mislabeled
  11. Caviar
    1. Balck caviar from the sturgeon are overfished making them endangered
  12. Mahi Mahi
    1. If not stored properly, it can form histamine causing histamine poisoning or scombroid poisoning
    2. Can cause an illness resembling an allergic reaction
  13. Grocery store Tuna Sushi rolls and Seafood Trays
    1. Low-quality
    2. May have been treated with filtered carbon monoxide for a red color
    3. Although it looks fresh, you won’t be able to tell if it actually is
    4. Could have been sitting for a long period of time
  14. Farmed shrimp (imported)
    1. Food additives used can cause reduced sperm counts in men
    2. Food additives used can cause increases breast cancer risk in women
    3. Treated with harmful chemicals and pesticides
  15. Catfish (imported)
    1. Imported fish are rarely inspected
    2. Antibiotics that are banned in the U.S. are used on imported catfish from Vietnam
  16. Rays, Skate
    1. Overfished
    2. Sometimes sold as sea scallops
  17. American Eel – Endangered
    1. Important when it comes to protecting our water supplies
    2. Absorb and store harmful chemicals and contaminants
  18. King Crab (imported)
    1. May be mislabeled as “Alaska” when they really came from Russia
    2. You won’t know where they came from
  19. Atlantic Salmon (Farmed)
    1. Raised in conditions including pesticides, feces, bacteria, and parasites
    2. Can be contaminated and cause health conditions
  20. Octopus
    1. They are smart and in the same category as dolphins and whales
  21. Tilapia
    1. Linked to high inflammatory omega-6 acids which can worsen autoimmune disorders
    2. Can cause heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
  22. Grouper
    1. High mercury levels
    2. A common target of seafood fraud and could be be mislabeled
  23. Sturgeon
    1. Are critically endangered

Some fish contain high levels of mercury or are contaminated by chemicals which can be harmful to your health if we eat them. Or, they are decreasing in population which can be harmful to our ocean’s ecosystem. 

So, most fish are okay to eat, but all fish are not edible.

Hannah R.

Hey, I'm Hannah and I'm the founder of Get Eatin'.

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