How much fish can you eat?

Should you be worried about mercury in fish? It’s true that mercury poisoning is well worth avoiding for the type of harm to our nervous systems that you’d expect from heavy metals. However, a sensible approach can keep your diet at safe mercury levels while still getting your regular nutritious servings of fish.

It’s important to mention that fish is a great source of protein and contains omega-3 fatty acids that are crucial to get the best out of our brains. The current Australian Dietary Guidelines recommend eating fish among other sources of protein.

As mercury is present in fish, the trick is to not eat above safe levels of mercury. Mercury enters the fish food chain when bacteria in the ocean converts it to the organic compound methylmercury.

As a rule of thumb, the bigger the fish, the higher the mercury levels. Therefore, how much fish you can eat each week depends on what type of fish you eat.

Australian guidelines on fish consumption

We’ve got the latest health info on your recommended fish intake thanks to the latest research from Food Standards Australia New Zealand.

Pregnant women and women planning pregnancy

1 serve equals 150 grams

Children (up to 6 years)

1 serve equals 75 grams


Everyone else

1 serve equals 150 grams


2–3 serves per week of any fish and seafood not listed in the column below

2–3 serves per week of any fish and seafood not listed in the column below
OR

1 serve per week of Orange Roughy (Deep Sea Perch) or Catfish (Basa) and no other fish that week
1 serve per week of Shark (Flake) or Billfish (Swordfish/ Broadbill, and Marlin) and no other fish that week
OR


1 serve per fortnight of Shark (Flake) or Billfish (Swordfish/Broadbill, and Marlin) and no other fish that fortnight
1 serve per week of Shark (Flake) or Billfish (Swordfish/ Broadbill, and Marlin) and no other fish that week

The big question: How much tuna can I eat?

You can probably eat more tuna than you think. All Australians can have 2–3 servings of tuna per week. Even though tuna is a large fish (and therefore more likely to be high in mercury), Food Standards Australia New Zealand says that smaller, younger tuna fish are used in canned tuna and have lower levels of methylmercury.

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