These are the safest fish species for low mercury levels.

Oct 11, 2022 | Current affairs, Featured, Post, Revista Lloseta, Thursday Daily Bulletin, Tradition, Uncategorized

Mercury accumulates more in large fish, such as tuna and swordfish than in small fish. Among the latter, sardines, anchovies, sea bream and sea bream are some of the species that meet the limit values recommended by the EU, along with one mollusc: squid, according to an analysis carried out at the CSIC’s IDAEA institute.

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SYNC 10/10/2022 12:18 CEST

A scientific team from the Institute of Environmental Diagnosis and Water Studies (IDAEA) of the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC) has analysed the mercury concentration of 58 species of fish and shellfish for human consumption collected in local markets in Spain, Italy and France.

After analysing the concentration of mercury in 58 species of fish and shellfish in Spain, Italy and France, 13 of them showed levels below those recommended as safe by the EU, such as sardines, anchovies, sea bream, gilthead bream and squid.

Of these, 13 species always had mercury concentrations below those recommended as safe by the European Union. These include sardines, anchovies, sea bream, sea bream and squid.

“Consuming these species minimises our mercury intake, which is the price to pay for eating fish. In addition, these fish have a good amount of unsaturated fatty acids, which are more beneficial from a nutritional point of view,” says Joan O. Grimalt, a researcher at IDAEA-CSIC and lead author of the study.

Mercury is a toxic element that damages the kidneys, lungs and cardiovascular and nervous systems, especially in pregnant women and children. Due to its Physico-chemical properties, mercury can be transported over long distances and deposited in aquatic ecosystems, where it is absorbed by fish and other organisms. Most of the mercury ingested by the human population comes from the consumption of fish and seafood.

Analysis of 1300 specimens in Mediterranean markets
The study, published in the journal Environmental Pollution, analysed more than 1,300 specimens of 58 species of fish and shellfish for human consumption that were on sale in markets in Spain (Menorca, Mallorca, Ibiza, Alicante, Ametlla de Mar and L’Ampolla), Italy (Genoa, Civitavecchia, Alghero) and France (Marseille).

The results show that specimens of 13 of the 58 species analysed always have mercury levels below the limits recommended by the European Union: sardine, anchovy, blue whiting, blue whiting, caramel (or gerret), sea bream, gilthead bream, red sea bream, red mullet, red mullet, red mullet, corvallo, salpa, dolphinfish and squid.

“According to these results, health authorities should pay special attention to the fish and shellfish species with the highest mercury levels and make appropriate preventive health recommendations, especially for pregnant women and children,” concludes Grimalt.

In general, larger fish accumulate more of this toxic substance. Analyses carried out by the Organisation of Consumers and Users (OCU), for example, have detected higher mercury concentrations in bluefin tuna, swordfish and some sharks.