Healthy Fish Guide

The healthy fish guide is for everyone – especially women who are or might become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children. This guide will help you gain the health benefits from fish and reduce your exposure to contaminants in fish.

Healthy Choice

Safe to Eat 2-3 Servings Per Week


Black sea bass




Cod (US Pacific) (US Atlantic)

Crab (Blue, King, Snow) (US, Canada) (imported King)


Crayfish (imported farmed)



Mackerel (canned)


Pollock/Fish sticks

Salmon (fresh, canned)

Chinook (King) (coastal, Alaska)
Chum (Dog, Keta)
Coho (Silver)
Farmed (Farmed vs. wild salmon issues)
Pink (Humpy)
Sockeye (Red)

Sardines (US Pacific) (US Atlantic)


Shrimp/Prawns (US, Canada) (imported)

Squid/Calamari (Mitre, Indian spp)



Tuna (canned light) (troll/pole) (imported longline, purse seine)

— OR —

You can eat from either the green or yellow section, but not from both. If you eat the amount recommended from the green or yellow section, no other fish can be eaten that week.


Safe to Eat 1 Serving Per Week

Chilean sea bass (Chile) (Crozet, Prince Edward & Marion Islands)

Chinook salmon (Puget Sound)

Croaker (white, Pacific)

Halibut (Pacific) (Atlantic)

Lobster (US, Canada) (imported Spiny Caribbean)

Mahi mahi (imported longline)


Rockfish/Red snapper (trawl-caught)

Sablefish/Black cod

Tuna, Albacore (fresh, canned white) (WA, OR, CA troll/pole) (imported longline)

Tuna, Yellowfin (imported longline)

Should Not Eat

Due to Mercury

Women who are or may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and young children should NOT eat:

Mackerel (King)

Marlin (imported)

Shark (CA, HI Mako & Thresher)

Swordfish (imported)

Tilefish (Gulf of Mexico, South Atlantic)

Tuna Steak

Bigeye (imported longline)

Highest in healthy omega-3 fatty acids.

Orange Text: Overfished, farmed, or caught using methods harmful to marine life and/or environment.

A serving of seafood is about the size and thickness of your hand, or 1 ounce for every 20 pounds of body weight. A serving size for a 160 pound adult is 8 ounces of fish. A serving size for a 80 pound child is 4 ounces of fish.

Get a free Healthy Fish Guide

Print or order this guide in English or Spanish. To order, contact our fish advisory program.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Guide

Can I eat fish from the red column?

Yes, you can eat fish from the red column if you are NOT a child, or a pregnant or nursing woman. If you eat a meal from the red column, choose fish from the green column for the rest of the month.

What if a fish I want to eat is not listed?

If a fish is not listed, it means there was not enough data to determine the contaminant levels or that it was not a fish commonly sold in this area. Only fish that had data from at least 20 samples were used to develop this list. Exceptions to the sample size occurred if samples were consistently high in contaminants. To be protective, the EPA advises limiting consumption to one meal per week when data are not available for freshwater sport-caught fish. If you are concerned, follow this EPA advice for store-bought fish not on this list. If a geographic location is not listed next to a fish it is inferred that it is a Pacific coast fish.

What does the orange text mean?

Fish with the orange text are overfished, farmed, or caught using methods harmful to marine life or the environment. For example, halibut in the Atlantic have been overfished so halibut from the Pacific are preferred. For more information, see Fish Watch - NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service or Seafood Watch - Monterey Bay Aquarium.

What does the heart next to certain fish mean?

The heart icon indicates that the levels of omega 3 fatty acids are ≥ 500 mg per 3 ounces in that particular fish. If you have coronary heart disease, the American Heart Association recommends that you eat 1,000 mg of omega 3's per day, preferably from fatty fish. Learn more about the health benefits of fish.

What is the difference between tuna in the green, yellow, and red column?

Green column: Canned light tuna is primarily a mixture of skipjack and yellowfin tuna and has three times less mercury than canned albacore tuna in the yellow column. When a person consumes canned light tuna, they are exposed to an average concentration of about 125 ppb of mercury. Keep in mind that all fish contain some mercury.

Yellow column: Tuna in the yellow column include yellowfin tuna (also called Ahi or Maguro) and albacore canned (also known as white tuna) or troll caught from WA, OR, and CA coastal waters.

Red column: Bluefin and bigeye tuna are generally steak cuts from larger, older tuna that may have high levels of mercury. Fish in the red column should be avoided by women who are or may become pregnant, nursing mothers, and children. Women who do not plan to have children or have passed their childbearing years and men can eat fish from the red column, but should choose fish from the green column for the rest of the month.

How serious is chemical contaminant exposure from fish?

Contaminants such as mercury, PCBs, and dioxins can build up in your body over time. Health problems associated with eating contaminated fish range from hard-to-detect neurological changes to birth defects and possibly cancer. The developing fetus and young children are most at-risk. Learn more about contaminants in fish and fish advice for women and children.

Does cooking fish get rid of toxic chemicals?

Certain contaminants such as PCBs, dioxins and some pesticides can be reduced by up to 50% by cutting off the fat in fish or allowing fat to drip away during cooking. Unfortunately, there are no cooking methods that will reduce mercury levels in seafood since it is a metal that binds to proteins (the muscle) in fish tissue. See our tips for reducing your exposure to contaminants in fish.

Is there advice on eating fish from lakes, rivers, and Puget Sound?

Fish consumption advisories by waterbody offers guidance on which fish to avoid or limit in certain lakes, rivers, or parts of Puget Sound.

Content Source: Fish Advisories Program