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The Link Between Healthy And Sustainable Tuna United States, August 8, 12

A group of Arizona State University researchers have published a report that found a link between the sustainability of a particular seafood and its healthfulness.

“If the fish is sustainable, then it is likely to be healthy to eat too,” said Leah Gerber, an associate professor and senior sustainability scientist at ASU.

The researchers ran an analysis of existing literature on fish to see which choices are consistently healthier and which are high in mercury or overfished. The findings are published in the 2 August edition of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

In “Sustaining seafood for public health,” the researchers state their analysis is the first to bring together several types of sustainability rankings, along with species specific health metrics, including omega-3 fatty acid and mercury content.

“In general, larger longer-lived fish are more likely to have exposure to toxins due to the length of their lives and their place on the food chain,” said Gerber. “So you might be best served to stay away from them — like bluefin tuna or sturgeon. Besides, these stocks have been depleted by fishing.”

The research stemmed from a database on both ecological and health metrics of seafood. Researchers used the database to look for patterns of similarity between ecological and health metrics and found that in general, choosing healthy seafood also means choosing sustainable seafood.

In addition, Gerber wants to use the study to develop a tool to guide consumers to smarter choices in the seafood they eat.