Fish Consumption Recommendations

Minimum Number of Servings a Week Recommended by Canada's Food Guide

Canada’s Food Guide recommends eating at least 2 servings of fish a week. One serving of fish is equal to:

  • 75 grams of cooked fish, which is:
    • 125 mL or ½ cup
    • About half a 170 g can (the most common size sold in grocery stores)
  • 90 grams of raw fish

Choose fatty fishes that are high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D. For example:

  • Salmon
  • Trout
  • Sardines
  • Atlantic mackerel
  • Herring

To make sure you get the best nutritional value from fish, use low-fat cooking methods such as poaching, grilling or baking.

Eating 2 servings of fatty fish a week provides the equivalent of 300 to 500 mg of omega-3 fatty acids a day. This is the amount recommended by the World Health Organization.

Omega-3 fatty acid content of some species of fish and seafood

Species

Omega-3 fatty acid content
(in milligrams per serving)

Source: Data taken from the Canadian Nutrient File (CNF) (Health Canada) This hyperlink will open in a new window.

Atlantic mackerel

2,385

Atlantic salmon, farmed

2,241

Atlantic salmon, wild

1,800

Smoked Atlantic herring, raw

1,539

Sablefish

1,467

Sardine, canned

1,095

Sockeye salmon, canned

1,063

Greenland halibut (turbot)

927

Rainbow trout, farmed

873

Rainbow trout, wild

711

Smelt (rainbow smelt)

657

Whitefish

520

Mussel (blue mussel), raw

423

Oyster (common oyster), raw

398

Redfish

353

Walleye

306

Northern pike

275

Gulf of St. Lawrence shrimp, cooked

255

Perch

243

Plaice (sole)

214

Light tuna, canned in water

202

Tilapia

186

Haddock

164

American lobster, cooked

62

Recommandations qui tiennent compte de la présence de méthylmercure dans certains poissons

Fish and seafood that can be eaten in unlimited amounts

The following fishes and seafood contain very little mercury. They can be eaten in unlimited amounts.

Species of fish and seafood that can be eaten in unlimited amounts

  • Game fish
    • American shad
    • Smelt (rainbow smelt)
    • Lake whitefish
    • Brook trout (speckled trout)
    • Other types of trout (except lake trout)
    • Atlantic tomcod
    • Atlantic salmon
  • Marine fish
    • Haddock
    • Anchovy
    • Capelin
    • Pollock
    • Herring
    • Atlantic mackerel
    • Hake
    • Plaice (sole)
    • Sardine
    • Salmon
    • Redfish
    • Tuna (canned)
  • Molluscs
    • Oyster
    • Mussel
    • Clam
    • Scallop
  • Crustaceans
    • Crab
    • Shrimp
    • Lobster
  • Farmed fish
    • Salmon
    • Tilapia
    • Trout
    • Other farmed fish

Fish that should be eaten in limited amounts

Consumption of some types of fish is restricted because of their mercury content. They can be eaten but in limited amounts. Make sure you only eat the amounts shown in the table. These recommended maximum amounts apply to people who eat fish frequently and regularly. They are valid in most cases unless advised otherwise by public health or environment authorities.

Species of fish that should be eaten in limited amounts and recommended maximum amounts

Species

Mercury content

Recommended maximum amount

(1 serving = 90 g before cooking)

Game fish:

  • Bullhead
  • Panfish
  • Sturgeon
  • Burbot
  • Chub
  • Perch

Low

230 g a week

(2.5 servings)

Large marine fish:

  • Swordfish
  • Shark
  • Fresh or frozen tuna (including bluefin tuna)

Moderate

180 g a week

(2 servings)

Game fish:

  • Bass
  • Pike
  • Walleye
  • Muskellunge
  • Lake trout

High

115 g a week

(about 1 serving)

Eating game fish

If you eat game fish regularly, you can consult the MDDELCC’s Guide de consommation du poisson de pêche sportive en eau douce This hyperlink will open in a new window. [Guide to eating freshwater game fish; available in French only]. This very detailed guide shows recommended maximum amounts based on fish species, size and fishing site.

Women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, breastfeeding women and young children

The following recommendations apply to women who are pregnant or planning a pregnancy, breastfeeding women and young children:

  • Do not eat species of wild fish that are most likely to be contaminated frequently. It’s preferable to choose fish and seafood that can be eaten in unlimited amounts.
  • Do not eat raw or partially cooked fish or seafood. Thorough cooking prevents diseases caused by certain microbes or parasites these foods may be contaminated with.
  • Limit the amount of canned albacore tuna (white tuna) (not to be confused with canned light tuna, which can be eaten in unlimited amounts) to no more than:
    • 300 g a week for women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding
    • 150 g a week for children age 5 to 11
    • 75 g a week for children age 1 to 4
  • Limit the amount of fresh or frozen tuna (including bluefin tuna), shark, swordfish, orange roughy and marlin to no more than:
    • 150 g a month for women who are pregnant, planning a pregnancy or breastfeeding
    • 125 g a month for children age 5 to 11
    • 75 g a month for children age 1 to 4