Commercial Fish Advisories

Fish for Your Health™ Advice for pregnant or nursing women, women that will become pregnant, and children under 6 years of age

Eat fish

Health experts recommend eating 8-12 ounces/week (weight before cooking) of fish leading up to and during pregnancy and after delivery while breastfeeding. Children, ages 2-6, should eat at least 2 ounces/week. As a reference, 3 ounces of fish is about the size of a deck of cards. Eating fish which contains omega-3 fatty acids (EPA & DHA) will support healthy brain and eye development for your baby.

Before eating recreationally-caught fish, check the State Advisory page to find a link for your State’s fish consumption advisory and avoid eating fish that is heavily contaminated with pollutants. If a fish that you caught is not listed in the advisory, then eat no more than 1 meal per month. If you are unsure about the safety of the fish that you caught, be safe – ‘catch-and-release’.

Garlic shrimp with vegetable rice and green salad

Minimize your exposure to pollutants in commercial fish

Follow the advice given below. (Example: If you eat 4 ounces of albacore tuna, then don’t eat any other fish from this category until the following week.)

Level of Mercury or PCBs**
Maximum Amount for Adults to Eat
Commercial Fish Species
Lowest 12 ounces per week
(2 meals /week)
anchovy, butterfish, catfish (farm-raised), clam, cod, crab (Blue, King and Snow), crayfish (also called crawfish), croaker (Atlantic), flatfish (Flounder, Plaice, Sole), haddock, hake, herring, jacksmelt, lobster (spiny), mackerel (Atlantic, Jack, chub), mullet, oyster (cooked), perch (ocean), pickerel, pollock, rainbow trout (farm-raised), shad (American), salmon (wild or farm-raised), sardine, scallop, shrimp, squid, tilapia, tuna (Skipjack, Light, canned), whitefish, whiting (bolded fish contain more of the healthy omega-3 fats)
Moderate 4 ounces per week
(1 meal/2 weeks)
bass (black), buffalo fish, carp, perch (freshwater), grouper, halibut, lobster (northern, Maine, Atlantic), mahi mahi (Dolphin-fish), Pompano (Florida), sablefish, sea trout (weakfish), scorpion fish, snapper, Spanish mackerel (S. Atlantic), tilefish (Atlantic), tuna (Albacore, Yellowfin, White, canned), white croaker (Pacific)
High Do not eat bass (striped)**, bluefish**, Chilean sea bass, jack (Amber, Crevalle), king mackerel, marlin, orange roughy, shark, Spanish mackerel (Gulf of Mexico), swordfish, tilefish (also called golden bass or golden snapper – Gulf of Mexico), tuna (all fresh or frozen)

**PCBs (polychlorinated biphenyls) are environmental pollutants that are higher in these species.

Breastfeeding provides infants with important nourishment. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (2020-2025) recommend breastfeed exclusively for the first 6 months, and breastfeeding while introducing food until your child is 12 months of age or older. The World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends exclusive breastfeeding for the first 6 months. The difference is the WHO recommends continued breastfeeding along with introduction of complementary foods for up to 2 years of age or longer. If you do not eat fish, consider eating omega-3 enriched eggs. Otherwise, discuss with your physician the option of taking a fish oil or an algal-oil dietary supplement that contains DHA and/or EPA. Your physician should be able to tell you how much to take and often to take it. For supplements, look for the USP (U.S. Pharmacopeia) certification on the label.

Pregnant individuals and children should only eat seafood that has been properly cooked. Fish should reach 145o F for at least 15 seconds. Do not eat raw oysters, raw fish (sushi) or refrigerated smoked fish (often labeled as “nova-style,” “lox,” “kippered,” “smoked,” or “jerky”). All women and children should avoid puffer fish (also called fugu, blowfish or sea squab).

Seafood allergies – Do not feed shrimp, crab, lobster, crayfish, or fish to ‘high-risk’ infants or children until age 3 or older. High risk infants or children are those where both parents have allergies (especially serious allergies that include food allergies, bee sting allergy, pollen allergy, etc.). These children may be more likely to develop allergies to seafoods, especially in the early years of life.