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Red in Color, Green in Principle



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MERCURY
in FISH


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Eating Fish Can Be Healthy or Dangerous
(
The following information is from the FDA)
Red is Dangerous                                                                  Green is Relatively Safe

Mercury Levels in Commercial Fish and Shellfish

 
Table 1. Fish and Shellfish With Highest Levels of Mercury

SPECIES MERCURY CONCENTRATION (PPM) NO. OF
SAMPLES
SOURCE OF DATA
MEAN MEDIAN STDEV MIN MAX
MACKEREL KING 0.730 N/A N/A 0.230 1.670 213 GULF OF MEXICO REPORT 2000
SHARK 0.988 0.830 0.631 ND 4.540 351 FDA 1990-02
SWORDFISH 0.976 0.860 0.510 ND 3.220 618 FDA 1990-04
TILEFISH (Gulf of Mexico) 1.450 N/A N/A 0.650 3.730 60 NMFS REPORT 1978

Table 2. Fish and Shellfish With Lower Levels of Mercury


SPECIES MERCURY CONCENTRATION (PPM) NO. OF
SAMPLES
SOURCE OF DATA
MEAN MEDIAN STDEV MIN MAX
ANCHOVIES 0.043 N/A N/A ND 0.340 40 NMFS REPORT 1978
BUTTERFISH 0.058 N/A N/A ND 0.360 89 NMFS REPORT 1978
CATFISH 0.049 ND 0.084 ND 0.314 23 FDA 1990-04
CLAM * ND ND ND ND ND 6 FDA 1990-02
COD 0.095 0.087 0.080 ND 0.420 39 FDA 1990-04
CRAB 1 0.060 0.030 0.112 ND 0.610 63 FDA 1990-04
CRAWFISH 0.033 0.035 0.012 ND 0.051 44 FDA 2002-04
CROAKER ATLANTIC (Atlantic) 0.072 0.073 0.036 0.013 0.148 35 FDA 1990-03
FLATFISH 2* 0.045 0.035 0.049 ND 0.180 23 FDA 1990-04
HADDOCK (Atlantic) 0.031 0.041 0.021 ND 0.041 4 FDA 1990-02
HAKE 0.014 ND 0.021 ND 0.048 9 FDA 1990-02
HERRING 0.044 N/A N/A ND 0.135 38 NMFS REPORT 1978
JACK SMELT 0.108 0.060 0.115 0.040 0.500 16 FDA 1990-02
LOBSTER (Spiny) 0.09 0.14 ND 0.27 9 FDA SURVEY 1990-02
MACKEREL ATLANTIC (N. Atlantic) 0.050 N/A N/A 0.020 0.160 80 NMFS REPORT 1978
MACKEREL CHUB (Pacific) 0.088 N/A N/A 0.030 0.190 30 NMFS REPORT 1978
MULLET 0.046 N/A N/A ND 0.130 191 NMFS REPORT 1978
OYSTER 0.013 ND 0.042 ND 0.250 38 FDA 1990-04
PERCH OCEAN * ND ND ND ND 0.030 6 FDA 1990-02
POLLOCK 0.041 ND 0.106 ND 0.780 62 FDA 1990-04
SALMON (CANNED) * ND ND ND ND ND 23 FDA 1990-02
SALMON (FRESH/FROZEN) * 0.014 ND 0.041 ND 0.190 34 FDA 1990-02
SARDINE 0.016 0.013 0.007 0.004 0.035 29 FDA 2002-04
SCALLOP 0.050 N/A N/A ND 0.220 66 NMFS REPORT 1978
SHAD AMERICAN 0.065 N/A N/A ND 0.220 59 NMFS REPORT 1978
SHRIMP * ND ND ND ND 0.050 24 FDA 1990-02
SQUID 0.070 N/A N/A ND 0.400 200 NMFS REPORT 1978
TILAPIA * 0.010 ND 0.023 ND 0.070 9 FDA 1990-02
TROUT (FRESHWATER) 0.072 0.025 0.143 ND 0.678 34 FDA 2002-04
TUNA (CANNED, LIGHT) 0.118 0.075 0.119 ND 0.852 347 FDA 2002-04
WHITEFISH 0.069 0.054 0.067 ND 0.310 28 FDA 2002-04
WHITING ND ND ND ND 2 FDA SURVEY 1990-02

Table 3. Mercury Levels of Other Fish and Shellfish


SPECIES MERCURY CONCENTRATION (PPM) NO. OF
SAMPLES
SOURCE OF DATA
MEAN MEDIAN STDEV MIN MAX
BASS (SALTWATER, BLACK, STRIPED)3 0.219 0.130 0.227 ND 0.960 47 FDA 1990-04
BASS CHILEAN 0.386 0.303 0.364 0.085 2.180 40 FDA 1990-04
BLUEFISH 0.337 0.303 0.127 0.139 0.634 52 FDA 2002-04
BUFFALOFISH 0.19 0.14 0.05 0.43 4 FDA SURVEY 1990-02
CARP 0.14 0.14 0.01 0.27 2 FDA SURVEY 1990-02
CROAKER WHITE (Pacific) 0.287 0.280 0.069 0.180 0.410 15 FDA 1990-03
GROUPER (ALL SPECIES) 0.465 0.410 0.293 0.053 1.205 43 FDA 2002-04
HALIBUT 0.252 0.200 0.233 ND 1.520 46 FDA 1990-04
LOBSTER (NORTHERN/AMERICAN) 0.310 N/A N/A 0.050 1.310 88 NMFS REPORT 1978
LOBSTER (Species Unknown) 0.169 0.182 0.089 ND 0.309 16 FDA 1991-2004
MACKEREL SPANISH (Gulf of Mexico) 0.454 N/A N/A 0.070 1.560 66 NMFS REPORT 1978
MACKEREL SPANISH (S. Atlantic) 0.182 N/A N/A 0.050 0.730 43 NMFS REPORT 1978
MARLIN * 0.485 0.390 0.237 0.100 0.920 16 FDA 1990-02
MONKFISH 0.180 N/A N/A 0.020 1.020 81 NMFS REPORT 1978
ORANGE ROUGHY 0.554 0.563 0.148 0.296 0.855 49 FDA 1990-04
PERCH (Freshwater) 0.14 0.15 ND 0.31 5 FDA SURVEY 1990-02
SABLEFISH 0.220 N/A N/A ND 0.700 102 NMFS REPORT 1978
SCORPIONFISH 0.286 N/A N/A 0.020 1.345 78 NMFS REPORT 1978
SHEEPSHEAD 0.128 N/A N/A 0.020 0.625 59 NMFS REPORT 1978
SKATE 0.137 N/A N/A 0.040 0.360 56 NMFS REPORT 1978
SNAPPER 0.189 0.114 0.274 ND 1.366 43 FDA 2002-04
TILEFISH (Atlantic) 0.144 0.099 0.122 0.042 0.533 32 FDA 2002-04
TUNA (CANNED, ALBACORE) 0.353 0.339 0.126 ND 0.853 399 FDA 2002-04
TUNA(FRESH/FROZEN, ALL) 0.383 0.322 0.269 ND 1.300 228 FDA 2002-04
TUNA (FRESH/FROZEN, ALBACORE) 0.357 0.355 0.152 ND 0.820 26 FDA 2002-04
TUNA (FRESH/FROZEN, BIGEYE) 0.639 0.560 0.184 0.410 1.040 13 FDA 2002-04
TUNA (FRESH/FROZEN, SKIPJACK) 0.205 N/A 0.078 0.205 0.260 2 FDA 1993
TUNA (FRESH/FROZEN, YELLOWFIN) 0.325 0.270 0.220 ND 1.079 87 FDA 2002-04
TUNA (FRESH/FROZEN, Species Unknown) 0.414 0.339 0.316 ND 1.300 100 FDA 1991-2004
WEAKFISH (SEA TROUT) 0.256 0.168 0.226 ND 0.744 39 FDA 2002-04

Source of data: FDA 1990-2004, "National Marine Fisheries Service Survey of Trace Elements in the Fishery Resource" Report 1978,
"The Occurrence of Mercury in the Fishery Resources of the Gulf of Mexico" Report 2000

Mercury was measured as Total Mercury except for species (*) when only Methylmercury was analyzed.

ND - mercury concentration below detection level (Level of Detection (LOD)=0.01ppm)
N/A - data not available

The following species have been removed from the tables:

  • Bass (freshwater) not commercial
  • Pickerel not commercial

Standard deviation data generated for new data 2004 or later only.

1Includes: Blue, King, Snow
2Includes: Flounder, Plaice, Sole
3Includes: Sea bass/ Striped Bass/ Rockfish

NOTE: On February 8, 2006, technical changes were made to the data that was posted on January 19, 2006. The changes corrected data or more properly characterized the species of fish or shellfish sampled.

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