Ocean Fish to Avoid Eating

May 18, 2020

The ocean is full of natural wonders, including the kind best appreciated by your taste buds. Fresh fish is a treat for many, especially when it’s fish you caught yourself. However, there are plenty of ocean fish that you either can’t eat or should otherwise avoid in Sarasota, FL.

Some fish are full of heavy metals, pesticides and other substances that are harmful to our health, while others are overfished nearly to the point of extinction. Some species are part of the “bycatch” (the fish that are incidentally caught when targeting another species)—in fact, so many fish are bycaught that it equals over 60 billion tons per year.

To ensure the ocean’s health, our health and the availability of fish for all, it’s important that you avoid certain types:

  • Shark: Sharks are full of mercury, which is bad for us to consume, but they’re also a vital part of the ecosystem. When sharks are overfished, their prey (such as jellyfish and cownose rays) get out of control, and then, in many cases, prey upon other seafood we love, like scallops.
  • Wild caviar: Caviar is fish eggs, most often farmed from wild sturgeon. Sturgeon are being overfished and are nearly extinct due to the desire for their eggs. Since sturgeon don’t reproduce until later in life, it’s harder for their population to catch up to the overfishing. Opt for farmed caviar if you want to eat it.
  • Tuna: Tuna is in danger of extinction, too—we eat so much of it that the population can’t catch up. Instead of tuna, opt for sardines or canned chicken, both of which make delicious tuna-style salads and won’t harm the environment.
  • Chilean sea bass: This fish is high in mercury, but also is in danger of becoming completely extinct—experts warn that it could happen in the next five years.
  • Red snapper: Red snapper has been historically overfished, and is just now starting to recover from it. Try to avoid eating it whenever possible, so the population has time to catch up.
  • Imported king crab: If your king crab comes from Alaska, you’re in the clear—but most king crab is imported from Russia, which has fewer regulations and is in danger of overfishing its crab population.
  • American eel: Eel is also overfished, but you can substitute Atlantic- or Pacific-farmed squid for a similar flavor and texture.
  • Orange roughy: Even if you see “sustainably caught” orange roughy, this is another overfished species high in mercury. You’re better off avoiding it entirely.
  • Octopus: This one might be controversial—technically, octopi aren’t a danger to your health or of dying out—but many experts argue that because of their extreme intelligence, they’re more akin to dolphins and whales than we initially realized. It’s an ethical issue, so do your research and decide whether you feel comfortable eating these sentient sea creatures.

Enough about these fish you can’t eat in Sarasota, FL, though—ready to catch your own dinner? Charter Boat Shark offers fishing expeditions for any level angler. Call us today to book a trip.

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