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Our last two blogs have all been all about our favorite swimming snacks that you should avoid for health and/or environmental reasons.   Today, we’re going to finish that list up for you.  We felt like it was important to post these blogs because, if you want the best and healthiest fruits and veggies and you’re following the Dirty Dozen list of those things every year, shouldn’t you know the best and worst of some of the other foods you eat?  This is a list you don’t hear about too often, so we’re glad that Prevention Magazine published it.  Hope you find it helpful!

Sharks:  Eating sharks has far-reaching effects—and not just on your health.  While sharks are very high in mercury (a good enough reason to say pass the veggies, please), our oceans really pay the price for the decreasing number of sharks.  Sharks are at the top of the aquatic food chain, right?  So, what happens when there aren’t so many sharks anymore?  All the way down the food chain, the balance shifts.  The numbers of fish and other animals that sharks eat will increase (like rays and jellyfish).  Rays and jellyfish enjoy eating things like scallops and other fish that humans like, and that some people, especially those in coastal areas depend on for their livelihoods.  Eating sharks is an environmental disaster waiting (or starting?) to happen.

Orange Roughy:  This is another one that’s high in mercury, so beware.  Even more important though is their long term survival considering their life cycle.  Orange Roughy have a difficult time rebounding from over-fishing for a couple of reasons.  First, they can take between 20 and 40 years to reach full maturity, and second, because they reproduce late in life.  Some restaurants refuse to serve it, and even though you may still find it in some grocery stores mislabeled as “sustainably harvested,” don’t believe the hype.  According to Prevention, “There are no fisheries of orange roughy that are considered well-managed or are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council…”

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna:  We’ve mentioned mercury twice in just this blog, but we’re about to mention it again.  According to an analysis by The Neew York Times, Atlantic bluefin tuna has the highest levels of mercury of any other tuna.  Yikes!  And as if that wasn’t bad enough, these fish have been harvested to near extinction.  According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, Atlantic bluefin tuna are “critically endangered.”  That’s a problem.  Prevention suggests giving up tuna for Alaska wild-caught salmon or choosing American or Canadian (they argue strongly against imported tuna) albacore tuna which are harvested young and doesn’t have such high levels of mercury.

Chilean Sea Bass:  We know you don’t want to hear it, but put down that Chilean sea bass! It’s another fish that’s high in mercury and is near extinction.  Prevention reports that most Chilean sea bass sold in the US are caught illegally.  Apparently, the US Department of State says the number of illegally caught fish is declining, but even still there’s a problem.  Greenpeace says that unless people stop eating this fish all together, they may be commercially extinct in five years.  No more Chilean sea bass for us.  How about you?

We know fish and seafood are really good for us and we would like to eat more, but clearly we all need to pay attention to which fish are on our plates.  Eating just isn’t as simple as it should be these days, but being informed could save you and the planet a lot of trouble.  Are there other Dirty Dozen lists you’d like to see?  Leave us a comment on our Faceback page or send us a tweet and let us know!