17 Types of Seafood You Should Think Twice About Eating

Written By Jill Taylor

Seafood is often considered a healthy and delicious choice for meals. However, it’s not good to eat all types of seafood, as some pose risks to your health or the environment. Before you have your next seafood dinner, here are 17 different species you should consider not eating.

Farmed Salmon

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Farmed salmon can contain high levels of contaminants, and according to Time Magazine, “scientists found levels of polychlorinated biphenyls, a probable carcinogen known as PCBs, seven times higher in farmed Atlantic salmon than in wild salmon.” There is also an overuse of antibiotics and pesticides in salmon farming practices.

Imported Shrimp

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Steer clear of imported shrimp, as they frequently contain harmful chemicals and antibiotics. The shrimp farming industry also allegedly involves poor labor practices and human rights violations. As the final nail in the coffin, shrimp farming also leads to environmental destruction, including mangrove deforestation and water pollution.

King Mackerel

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You should consider skipping the king mackerel, especially if you’re a child or pregnant! The high mercury content in this seafood can be harmful to children and pregnant women. There are also concerns that overfishing is leading to a decline in king mackerel populations.

Orange Roughy

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The slow growth process and the long lifespan of orange roughy make them especially vulnerable to overfishing. The trawling involved in orange roughy fishing is also damaging to the environment, as it can destroy deep-sea habitats. Think twice before you next eat this fish!

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna

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Tuna is a staple in most people’s diets; however, you should consider keeping this specific species of tuna off of your plate. The Atlantic bluefin tuna is critically endangered due to overfishing, and the farming practices associated with this type of fish can have significant environmental impacts.

Chilean Sea Bass

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Another vulnerable species due to overfishing is the Chilean sea bass. Alternatives like Pacific Halibut are much more sustainable. Chilean sea bass is also often mislabeled, which leads to misrepresentation in the market. CNN says, “Chilean sea bass, […] is actually Patagonian toothfish or Antarctic toothfish—not sea bass.”


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In addition to having a high mercury content, which can be harmful, the fascinating-looking swordfish is considered a near-threatened species because of overfishing. Try choosing an alternative like Albacore tuna or mahi-mahi, which are more sustainable and less vulnerable.


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You should also think twice about eating grouper, as the grouper is often overfished and subject to illegal fishing practices. There are better choices, including Pacific rockfish and black sea bass, so do your bit to advocate for more sustainable practices and refuse grouper.


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Sharks are well-known to be apex predators, which means their decline will have major impacts on entire marine ecosystems! There are also many ethical concerns regarding the practices of shark finning, which are actually banned in many places (and should be everywhere).


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The population of eels has suffered a lot due to overfishing and habitat loss. The Guardian reports that “the population of this critically endangered fish has declined by more than 95% since the 80s.” Eel farming practices also often involve high pollution and disease rates.


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Tilefish have one of the highest mercury levels found in seafood, so it might not be the best decision to eat this type of seafood. As with many other species of fish, the tilefish faces the impacts of overfishing. Just pick up a pollock or Atlantic mackerel instead!


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Monkfish is another example of seafood that you should think carefully about before eating, as they are also an overfished and vulnerable species. Monkfish fishers are also often caught using destructive trawling methods that can destroy habitats and harm the environment.

Blue Marlin

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You’re probably sick of hearing about high mercury levels, but blue marlins are another fish with this! Blue marlins are also declining due to sport fishing and getting accidentally caught up in fishing gear. Alternatives like mahi-mahi are a more sustainable option.


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Overfishing has also led to a decreasing population of snappers. The WWF says “they are slow-growing fish, and because most are caught as juveniles they miss out on decades of reproductive activity.” Make a conscious effort to find better alternatives, like Pacific rockfish and farmed Barramundi.

Beluga Sturgeon Caviar

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Beluga sturgeon has become a critically endangered species due to habitat destruction and overfishing. Farming this type of caviar can also be unsustainable and unethical. First of all, count yourself lucky if you can afford caviar, but make sure you choose sustainable options like American Sturgeon caviar.


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The combination of overfishing and conch’s slow reproduction process has led to their becoming vulnerable to a low population. Conches are also often harvested using destructive practices. You should try to shop more sustainably by getting farmed Abalone whenever possible.

Atlantic Cod

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The population of Atlantic cod has crashed because of them being severely overfished. Controversial trawling methods used in farming for Atlantic cod have also led to extensive environmental damage. There are much better options you could choose, such as Pacific cod and haddock.

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