12 Fish You Probably Shouldn’t Eat, Ever

Fish is a delicate thing. It comes in mass imports and you never really know where it came from in the first place. These 12 fish specifically, you should probably avoid at all cost.


1. Orange Roughy.

It takes about 20 to 40 years for the orange roughy to fully mature and reproduce. This fish is so overfished some restaurants won’t even serve it. It also contains high levels of mercury, so instead, why not try yellow snapper? They have a similar texture to the orange roughy and are not quite as overfished.


2. Atlantic Cod.

Unfortunately, the Atlantic cod is only one step away from being added on the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s Red List of Threatened Species. Pacific cod is safe though, so go nuts on that cod.


3. Chilean Sea Bass.

If you’ve eaten a Chilean sea bass in the US, it was probably caught illegally. Its population is so low that according to Greenpeace, the Chilean sea bass could go extinct in the next five years if people keep eating it.

4. Atlantic Flatfish.

Flatfish is not only overfished, but it’s also heavily contaminated. Also, researchers from Food and Water Watch say that the population of the Atlantic Flatfish is too low to be sustainable for long-term fishing. If you’re really craving it though, any white-fleshed fish like catfish or tilapia is a good alternative.


5. American Eel.

The American Eel isn’t endangered, but it’s just toxic. They’re unusually highly contaminated with mercury and PCBs. Atlantic or Pacific squid is definitely a better alternative for this fish that’s basically poisonous.


6. Imported Catfish.

About 90 percent of imported catfish originates from Vietnam. However, in Vietnam, there is widespread use of antibiotics that are banned by the US. On top of that, two types of Vietnamese catfish that are sold to the US aren’t even technically catfish. Try some Asian carp instead. It’s severely overpopulated, so you’ll be doing marine life a favor.

7. Atlantic Salmon.

The Atlantic salmon is officially endangered. Their population is so low it’s illegal to catch it, so salmon farming has become a thing. However, this forces the fish to grow in cramped areas where all kinds of diseases spread. You’re safer with Alaskan salmon.


8. Shark.

There is a list of reasons not to eat sharks. First of all, they contain high levels of mercury, which is extremely bad for humans. Sharks are also predators, so eating them can seriously upset the ecosystem. Their prey like cownose rays and jellyfish have increased in numbers because there are no sharks to hunt them because people are eating the sharks. However, scallops and other fish are dropping in numbers because the rays and jellyfish feast on them. Bottom line: don’t eat shark.


9. Caviar.

Some people love their caviar, but it’s best to stay away from beluga and other wild sturgeon caviar. Because these sturgeon are overfished, their habitats are being ruined by dam construction. Caviar from lake sturgeon is fine though.

10. Atlantic Bluefin Tuna.

Probably the most commonly eaten fish, tuna is extremely popular. However, the Atlantic bluefin tuna is not only the highest in mercury, it’s also near extinction. It’s been labelled critically endangered by The International Union for Conservation of Nature. For an alternative, turn to American or Canadian albacore tuna.


11. Imported King Crab.

Most imported king crab comes from Russia, where fishing limits aren’t really enforced. It’s best to always ask where the crab came from, since imported king crab is often mislabeled as Alaskan king crab, which is an entirely different animal.


12. Imported Shrimp.

An estimated 90 percent of shrimp in the US is imported. However, farmed imported shrimp usually come with a large number of contaminants such as antibiotics, chemicals and filth. This includes mouse hair. Yes. Mouse hair. What’s even worse is that less than two percent of it is actually inspected before it’s sold.