What kind of fish do they eat

Which fish can you eat without a guilty conscience?

From FITBOOK | February 26, 2021, 7:56 p.m.

Fish is healthy! But overfishing and fishing methods put a strain on the ecosystem. In addition, many species are contaminated with mercury. So which fish can you still eat with a clear conscience? FITBOOK has the answers.

Whenever a study on the topic of healthy eating comes out, a similar conclusion is usually drawn unanimously: The Mediterranean diet keeps you lean, fit and physically and mentally healthy over the long term. However, fish is one of the "rules of the game" for this diet twice a week. This ensures, among other things, that the body is supplied with sufficient omega-3 fatty acids. Dwindling fish stocks, controversial fishing methods, exposure to heavy metals: If you think about it, you quickly ask yourself which fish you can still eat with a clear conscience.

Eating fish - the most important rules of thumb of the WWF

The answer to the question of which fish you can still eat with a clear conscience depends on where and how the fish was caught. The environmental foundation WWF is certain: “In many fishing areas the stocks are overfished and some fishing methods cause too much bycatch or cause severe devastation in the marine environment,” explains Catherine Zucco, WWF fisheries expert.

Your rules of thumb:

How often should you eat fish?

Eat fish only once a week and pay attention to the type, origin and fishing gear when shopping. These must be shown on the packaging and can be easily compared with the traffic light system of the WWF fish guide.

It is better to use schooling fish than predatory fish

When shopping, it is better to choose smaller schooling fish such as North Sea herring, sprat or anchovy than large predatory fish such as swordfish, tuna or cod. “The predatory fish in particular, which are in great demand, are mostly overfished,” says Zucco. Older predatory fish from the top of the food chain are also often contaminated with harmful heavy metals.

Also interesting: fish can protect the brain from harmful substances

Aquaculture predatory fish such as sea bream, salmon or sea bass should be avoided because, according to the WWF, their food contains wild fish, which increases the pressure on stocks.

Carp, catfish and oysters are recommended

Carp, on the other hand, are recommended all round, and catfish and tilapias are also good feed converters. If they are grown in so-called recirculation systems in Europe, they are a good alternative. According to the WWF traffic light, oysters are not a problem either. The noble mussel is particularly healthy, by the way, because it shines with a zinc content of 86 milligrams per 100 grams.

Fish fingers only occasionally

The WWF cannot unreservedly recommend any of the popular food fish Alaska pollock, salmon, tuna, herring and shrimp, which together make up around two thirds of fish consumption in Germany. The Alaska pollock, which is often processed in fish fingers, is listed in yellow in the WWF traffic light and, according to the recommendation of the organization, should only be consumed occasionally.

Better wild Alaska salmon than Atlantic salmon

If it is salmon, then from the point of view of the environmental foundation, wild Pacific salmon from Alaska is a better choice than conventionally farmed Atlantic salmon, which dominates supermarkets.

Also interesting: Omega-3 crackers: Oven salmon with root vegetables

Herring only from the North Sea

According to WWF, herring from the North Sea is recommended, but the herring stocks in the Baltic Sea are too small and too heavily fished. If you like regional fish, you can also use sprats, according to the information that the stocks are healthy in the North and Baltic Seas.

Tropical shrimp, eel and shark are an absolute no-go

Wild-caught tropical shrimp are listed in red on the WWF traffic light because shrimp fishing causes enormous bycatch and damages habitats on the seabed. The endangered eel, pomegranate and shark products such as Schillerlocken should not even be on the plate, according to the WWF.

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What to look out for when buying fish because of heavy metals

Precisely because fish is praised as so healthy, nobody wants to burden themselves with heavy metals through consumption. However, exposure to mercury is a problem that should not be underestimated. Here, too, some rules of thumb help when shopping.

Fish with high levels of heavy metals

According to the consumer advice center, it is mainly older predatory fish (which for sustainability reasons should only rarely end up on the plate anyway) that should be avoided. That would be: Butterfish, eel, wolffish, swordfish, halibut, pike, monkfish and tuna. All of them too shark-Types as well Octopus can be extremely contaminated with mercury.

Fish with low levels of heavy metals

Plaice, herring, cod and coalfish are generally considered to be harmless. Rule of thumb: fish that occupy a lower position in the food chain and remain comparatively fast-growing are usually far below the upper limit when it comes to exposure to mercury and the like.

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Conclusion: types of fish that you can eat with a clear conscience

With catfish and carp you are always on the safe side when it comes to ecological and health aspects. In terms of taste, however, the two fish are not for everyone. Herring and sprat from the North Sea as Sardines from Morocco (not Mediterranean!) are also good choices. What we also have left: to our hearts content Oysters slurp.

The WWF shopping guide for fish and seafood is available as an app and on the website fischratgeber.wwf.de. A short version in credit card format can be requested by email from [email protected]

with material from dpa

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