While seafood is a great source of protein and omega-3 fatty acids, it does also contain mercury – and too much mercury can damage the body’s nerves and immune system. This is a particular concern for the baby during pregnancy, infants and children up to the age of six.
Mercury is found naturally in the air, water and soil, however most is produced by humans such as in coal-fired power stations. This mercury eventually settles in the ocean floor, where bacteria absorb it. These bacteria are then ingested by small seafood and they are eaten by larger fish – as a result, the larger the fish, the higher the amount of mercury per gram.
The recommended seafood intake to ensure safe mercury levels is:
(1 serve = 150g):
- 2 – 3 serves per week of any fish and seafood not listed below or
- 1 serve per week of Orange Roughy (Sea Perch) or Catfish and no other fish that week or
- 1 serve per fortnight of Shark (Flake) or Billfish (Swordfish / Broadbill and Marlin) and no other fish that fortnight.
Children up to 6 years old (1 serve = 75g):
For everyone else (1 serve = 150g):
- 2 – 3 serves per week of any fish and seafood or
- 1 serve per week of Shark (Flake) or Billfish (Swordfish / Broadbill and Marlin) and no other fish that week.
Speak to your GP for more information. Visit www.foodauthority.nsw.gov.au