Fish is good for you. Fish is toxic. Eat it. Don’t eat it. With so many conflicting messages about the health benefits and hazards of fish, how can you know what to believe? Your Hawaii fishing charter service is here to help.
The following FAQ covers some of the basics on this topic. Use this overview to bust the myths, discover the truth and guide your fish-eating habits.
What is mercury?
This substance is a chemical element. It is a metal that is silvery-white, and is liquid at room temperature. You’ve probably seen it in one of its common uses: inside a thermometer.
Why is mercury present in fish?
Mercury is a naturally-occurring element. It enters the water system through manmade contaminants such as power plants and waste disposal, as well as through natural processes such as volcanic activity. Once in the water, microorganisms convert mercury into methylmercury. This form accumulates inside fish as they live in the water and consume the microorganisms.
Do all fish have the same mercury content?
No. The longest-living and largest fish have consumed more prey that contain mercury, so they have higher concentrations of mercury. Long-living predators including shark, king mackerel and swordfish have much higher concentrations of mercury than small, short-living fish such as trout and salmon.
What are the effects of mercury on humans?
Methylmercury can cause damage to the brain. Symptoms include memory loss and tremors. Extremely high concentrations of mercury can have detrimental effects on cardiovascular health. In infants, even low levels can be dangerous. Mercury consumption during these crucial developmental times can lead to mental retardation.
But isn’t fish good for you?
Yes. Despite the risks of mercury, normal consumption of fish can actually offer health benefits. Moderate consumption of seafood (two times per week) does not pose a clinically significant risk. The truth is, the benefits of fish oil are reported to outweigh the risks of mercury (infants excluded). The omega-3 fatty acids in seafood offer cardiovascular benefits, and fish oil is reported to lower blood pressure and triglycerides.
So, should I eat fish?
With the exception of women of childbearing age, you don’t need to worry too much about mercury toxicity from fish consumption. Consuming one or two portions of fish each week may actually provide health benefits rather than put you at risk. As you make choices about what to consume, it’s good to be aware of the mercury content in your selections. With the proper awareness, you can consume fish safely and continue to enjoy your favorite seafood.
Where Can I Learn More?
Would you like to learn more about fish, fishing and Hawaii fishing charter services? To draw from in-depth knowledge and experience, contact the experts at Sea Wife Charters. We’d love to help you learn more about this exciting sport. We’ve been the area’s go-to source for fishing charters for over 20 years. Our service offers individual and shared charters for up to 18 people. Contact us today with any questions or to schedule your next excursion.