Discover the fish with the lowest mercury content

Are you concerned about the mercury that might be present in the fish you eat? We know this is an important issue for many people who want to enjoy the nutritional benefits of fish, without putting their health at risk. Mercury, an environmental pollutant that can accumulate in fish tissue, can be harmful if ingested in large quantities. However, there are many varieties of fish with less mercury that are 100% safe to include in your diet.

In this article, we will recommend the best choices of fish with low mercury content. So you can enjoy a healthier and more conscious diet.

Mercury "free" fish species

The threshold of half a microgram of mercury per gram of fish is a standard used to determine the safety of fish consumption in terms of mercury contamination. This standard is important because mercury is a toxic heavy metal that can accumulate in fish tissue. Consequently, it could eventually reach our bodies through the marine food chain.

The Institute for Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (IDAEA-CSIC) investigated mercury levels in different fish and shellfish. As a result, it found that only 13 species in the Mediterranean never exceeded the threshold of 0.5 micrograms of mercury per gram of fish.

The following are the 13 members of this list clean of mercury.

Fish with lower mercury levels

  1. Anchovy or anchovyThe small fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids and is known for its low mercury content.
  2. Red mulletpopular for its tasty meat and firm texture, red mullet is another safe and nutritious option.
  3. Sardinerich in essential nutrients such as calcium and vitamin D, sardines are an economical and super-healthy alternative.
  4. Mother-of-pearl penknifea delicious, low-mercury seafood that also provides essential proteins and minerals.
  5. Blue whitingThis white fish is versatile in the kitchen and an excellent choice for those who prefer low-fat foods.
  6. Doradawidely appreciated for its mild taste and its ability to adapt to various culinary preparations.
  7. SquidA lean source of protein and low in mercury, ideal for quick and delicious dishes.
  8. Corvallo or Corvina pardaanother popular white fish in some regions, known for its firm flesh and low mercury content.
  9. Gerret, Picarel or Caramel: small but nutritious fish that offer a tasty and safe alternative.
  10. Blackspotted seabreamSource of proteins of high biological value, vitamins B12 and B3.
  11. Painted Combing Machine, Vaquita or Cabrillasaltwater fish with white flesh and fine texture, low in mercury and high in nutritional benefits.
  12. Galán, Pez Peine o PejepeineKnown for its distinctive appearance and lean meat, it is a popular choice in northern coastal regions such as Galicia, Asturias and Cantabria.
  13. Common dolphinAlthough dolphin is not a consumed fish, it is on this list to highlight its low level of mercury, even though it is not a food option.

Is it safe to eat another species that is not on this list?

The Spanish Food Safety and Nutrition Agency pointed out that, while it is important to address the mercury issue, consuming fish is safe and beneficial to health.

However, it should be noted that there are species with higher levels of mercury, the consumption of which should be limited. These are the following:

  • Bluefin tuna.
  • Marrajo.
  • Dogfish.
  • Swordfish or emperor.
  • Shark.
  • Pikefish.

Fish and mercury: Recommendations for a healthy diet

  • Vary your fish choicesby diversifying among different fish species, you reduce the frequent exposure to high mercury values that are linked to certain fish.
  • Opt for smaller fishAvoid larger fish, as they generally accumulate more mercury in your body over time. Prefer smaller species, such as sardines, anchovies and mackerel.
  • Reduce intake of fish with a high level of mercury: In risk groups, it is advisable to reduce the consumption of species with high mercury levels. This would be in young children, pregnant women, nursing mothers and women of childbearing age, as they are more sensitive to the negative effects of mercury.


In short, we can say that the intake of fish and seafood products is safe and even advisable.

The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has stated that regardless of mercury exposure, fish provides important benefits and its consumption is recommended. The Authority also stated that the best way to reduce exposure to methylmercury is to consume the species with the highest levels in moderation.

In addition to being an optimal source of high biological value protein, iodine, calcium, selenium and vitamins, many shellfish and fish have a significant amount of omega-3 fatty acids and other essential nutrients. This therefore further enhances their health benefits.

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Pescados y Congelados Guerrero

A Malaga-based fresh and frozen food distribution and production group with more than 50 years in the sector.

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