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Advice about Eating Fish

For Women Who Are or Might Become Pregnant, Breastfeeding Mothers, and Young Children

Advice about Eating Fish

FDA and EPA have issued advice regarding eating fish. This advice can help women who are pregnant or may become pregnant - as well as breastfeeding mothers and parents and caregivers feeding children 2 years and older - make informed choices when it comes to fish that are nutritious and safe to eat. This advice supports the recommendations of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, developed for people 2 years and older. For advice about feeding children under 2 years of age, you can consult the American Academy of Pediatrics.

The advice features a chart that makes it easier than ever to choose dozens of healthy and safe options and includes information about the nutritional value of fish. A set of frequently asked questions & answers provides more information on how to use the chart and additional tips for eating fish.

Download the Advice in 8.5x14 legal size (PDF 472KB)

Download the Advice in 8.5x11 letter size, double-sided (PDF 693 KB)


Eating fish when pregnant or breastfeeding can provide health benefits.

Fish and other protein-rich foods have nutrients that can help your child’s growth and development. As part of a healthy eating pattern, eating fish may also offer heart health benefits and lower the risk of obesity.

Nutritional Value of Fish

Child Eating Fish

The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends:

  • At least 8 ounces of seafood (less for young children) per week based on a 2,000 calorie diet
  • Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding to consume between 8 and 12 ounces of a variety of seafood per week, from choices that are lower in mercury.

Fish are part of a healthy eating pattern and provide:

  • Protein
  • Healthy omega-3 fats (called DHA and EPA)
  • More vitamin B12 and vitamin D than any other type of food
  • Iron which is important for infants, young children, and women who are pregnant or who could become pregnant
  • Other minerals like selenium, zinc, and iodine.

Choose a variety of fish that are lower in mercury.

While it is important to limit mercury in the diets of women who are pregnant and breastfeeding and young children, many types of fish are both nutritious and lower in mercury. 

This chart can help you choose which fish to eat, and how often to eat them, based on their mercury levels.

What is a serving? As a guide, use the palm of your hand.

Adult-size Serving of Fish

For an adult
1 serving = 4 ounces

Eat 2 to 3 servings a week from the "Best Choices" list (OR 1 serving from the "Good Choices" list).

Children Holding Hands

For children, a serving is 1 ounce at age 2 and increases with age to 4 ounces by age 11.

If you eat fish caught by family or friends, check for fish advisories. If there is no advisory, eat only one serving and no other fish that week.*

Advice About Eating Fish Chart

This advice supports the recommendations of the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, developed for people 2 years and older, which reflects current science on nutrition to improve public health. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans focuses on dietary patterns and the effects of food and nutrient characteristics on health. For advice about feeding children under 2 years of age, you can consult the American Academy of Pediatrics.

‡ THIS ADVICE REFERS TO FISH AND SHELLFISH COLLECTIVELY AS "FISH" / ADVICE REVISED JULY 2019

* Some fish caught by family and friends, such as larger carp, catfish, trout and perch, are more likely to have fish advisories due to mercury or other contaminants. State advisories will tell you how often you can safely eat those fish.

Resources & Supporting Scientific Documents


Translations

Updated translations of this page coming soon! The table portion of the advice is available in Spanish (en Español) below.

Advice About Eating Fish Chart (en Español)

*Algunos pescados capturados por familiares y amigos, como la carpa grande, el pez gato, la trucha y la perca, es más probable que tengan recomendaciones de consumo debido al mercurio u otros contaminantes. Las recomendaciones estatales le dirán con qué frecuencia puede comer esos pescados en forma segura.

Text Version (English and en Español)

Fish *

Best Choice, Good Choice, or Choice to Avoid?

Anchovy Best Choice
Atlantic croaker Best Choice
Atlantic mackerel Best Choice
Black sea bass Best Choice
Butterfish Best Choice
Catfish Best Choice
Clam Best Choice
Cod Best Choice
Crab Best Choice
Crawfish Best Choice
Flounder Best Choice
Haddock Best Choice
Hake Best Choice
Herring Best Choice
Lobster, American and spiny Best Choice
Mullet Best Choice
Oyster Best Choice
Pacific chub mackerel Best Choice
Perch, freshwater and ocean Best Choice
Pickerel Best Choice
Plaice Best Choice
Pollock Best Choice
Salmon Best Choice
Sardine Best Choice
Scallop Best Choice
Shad Best Choice
Shrimp Best Choice
Skate Best Choice
Smelt Best Choice
Sole Best Choice
Squid Best Choice
Tilapia Best Choice
Trout, freshwater Best Choice
Tuna, canned light (includes skipjack) Best Choice
Whitefish Best Choice
Whiting Best Choice
Bluefish Good Choice
Buffalofish Good Choice
Carp Good Choice
Chilean sea bass/Patagonian toothfish Good Choice
Grouper Good Choice
Halibut Good Choice
Mahi mahi/dolphinfish Good Choice
Monkfish Good Choice
Rockfish Good Choice
Sablefish Good Choice
Sheepshead Good Choice
Snapper Good Choice
Spanish mackerel Good Choice
Striped bass (ocean) Good Choice
Tilefish (Atlantic Ocean) Good Choice
Tuna, albacore/white tuna, canned and fresh/frozen Good Choice
Tuna, yellowfin Good Choice
Weakfish/seatrout Good Choice
White croaker/Pacific croaker Good Choice
King mackerel Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS
Marlin Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS
Orange roughy Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS
Shark Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS
Swordfish Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS
Tilefish (Gulf of Mexico) Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS
Tuna, bigeye Choice to Avoid: HIGHEST MERCURY LEVELS

*Some fish caught by family and friends, such as larger carp, catfish, trout and perch, are more likely to have fish advisories due to mercury or other contaminants. State advisories will tell you how often you can safely eat those fish.

PESCADO *

Mejores opciones, Buenas opciones, o Opciones a evitar

Boquerón o anchoa Mejores opciones
Corvina Mejores opciones
Caballa Mejores opciones
Róbalo Mejores opciones
Palometa  Mejores opciones
Pez gato o bagre  Mejores opciones
Almeja  Mejores opciones
Bacalao Mejores opciones
Cangrejo  Mejores opciones
Cangrejo de río  Mejores opciones
Platija o lenguado Mejores opciones
Eglefino Mejores opciones
Merluza Mejores opciones
Arenque  Mejores opciones
Langosta, americana y espinosa  Mejores opciones
Lisa o pargo Mejores opciones
Ostra Mejores opciones
Estornino del Pacífico Mejores opciones
Perca, de agua dulce y de mar Mejores opciones
Lucio Mejores opciones
Platija o lenguado Mejores opciones
Gado o abadejo  Mejores opciones
Salmón Mejores opciones
Sardina Mejores opciones
Vieira  Mejores opciones
Lacha  Mejores opciones
Camarón  Mejores opciones
Raya Mejores opciones
Pejerrey Mejores opciones
Lenguado  Mejores opciones
Calamar  Mejores opciones
Tilapia  Mejores opciones
Trucha, de agua dulce Mejores opciones
Atún, enlatado claro (incluye el bonito) Mejores opciones
Pescado blanco Mejores opciones
Merluza Mejores opciones
Pez azul o anjova Buenas opciones
Bagre búfalo (o bagre boca chica) Buenas opciones
Carpa Buenas opciones
Perca de mar chilena/Merluza negra Buenas opciones
Mero Buenas opciones
Halibut o fletán Buenas opciones
Dorado/pez delfín Buenas opciones
Rape Buenas opciones
Gallineta o pescado de roca  Buenas opciones
Bacalao negro Buenas opciones
Chopa Buenas opciones
Lutjánido o pargo Buenas opciones
Caballa española Buenas opciones
Perca rayada (de mar) Buenas opciones
Blanquillo o lofolátilo (Océano Atlántico)  Buenas opciones
Atún, albacora/blanco, enlatado y fresco/congelado Buenas opciones
Atún, aleta amarilla Buenas opciones
Corvinata real/trucha de mar Buenas opciones
Corvina blanca/Corvina del Pacífico Buenas opciones
Macarela rey o caballa Opciones a evitar
Aguja Opciones a evitar
Reloj anaranjado, raya o pez emperador Opciones a evitar
Tiburón  Opciones a evitar
Pez espada Opciones a evitar
Blanquillo o lofolátilo (Golfo de México) Opciones a evitar
Atún de ojos grandes o patudo Opciones a evitar

*Algunos pescados capturados por familiares y amigos, como la carpa grande, el pez gato, la trucha y la perca, es más probable que tengan recomendaciones de consumo debido al mercurio u otros contaminantes. Las recomendaciones estatales le dirán con qué frecuencia puede comer esos pescados en forma segura.