There are good reasons to make sure you get your (at least) two portions of fish a week, and it is so easy, it is amazing how many people don't do this. It is recommended that you have one oily fish and one white meat fish, though it is suggested that intake of oily fish is not overdone due to potential toxins, whilst white meat fish you can eat as much as you want (for the most part).
Oily fish are a fantastic source of Omega 3 fatty acids, a naturally occurring and important fatty acid that boosts your metabolism, can help reduce arthritis and join pain, reduce blood fats which will reduce the risk of heart disease, and some scientists consider them good for reducing depression. So there is plenty of reason to keep them in your diet.
Oily fish include: anchovies, mackerel, salmon, sardines, trout, tuna and whitebait. You want to ensure you get at least one portion of one of these fish every week, but remember not to overdo it!
There are many toxins that can be found in the world, many of these are a result of industry and agriculture. Toxins such as mercury, PCB and pesticides find their way into the environment and waterways, which eventually lead to the sea. Unlike prehistoric ideas of the ocean being a giant never ending rubbish bin, these toxins find their way into the food web.
Bioaccumulation is a result of these toxins being ingested at the bottom of the food web in small quantities. However, a small fish will eat a lot of plankton or algae, which will multiply the amount of toxins in their body, then a bigger fish will eat several of these fish, and a bigger fish will eat several and a bigger fish will eat several until you get to the top of the food web, Tuna, Sharks etc have to eat a lot of fish to sustain themselves. This is called bioaccumulation.
Toxins like mercury have been shown to affect baby development, and can lay dormant in body fat. It is not healthy, so you want to avoid eating excess amounts of oily fish, but particularly careful for fish higher up the food chain. If in doubt, eat small fish, Sardines are small, full of oily goodness, quick to reproduce and have relatively low levels of toxins. Compared to Tuna, which is endangered, massive and full of toxins.
Bioaccumulation is sustainable more to your health and lifestyle than the oceans. So what can we do to make sure our diets aren't harming the oceans. This is quite simple. Before you buy a piece of fish or shellfish, THINK. Ask yourself two questions:
1. Is this fish endangered or threatened?
2. Was it caught in a sustainable manner?
1. It has been well documented that unsustainable fishing practices have left our oceans devastated. The North Atlantic Cod was once a mainstream fish eaten readily across North America and the UK. Then because of the extent of our fishing, we ran them to near extinction. Tuna are an excellent example as well, years of eating Tuna has led to certain species being endangered and in decline.
Avoid endangered fish species for your next meal, consider these tasty alternatives instead
2. This is simple, if you are not sure, ask your fishmonger or check the packaging for one of these logos
Take time next time you are in the supermarket to look for these or other identifying marks that signal the fish was caught sustainably. and remember, we want you to eat fish, just not too many, and in a sustainable way!
What do you call a Fish with no eyes?
(or a Cavefish, which are a bizarre species of fish that live in darkness and have evolved with no eyes)