Fish & Wildlife | Ecotrope

Oregon tuna fleet: Our fish has less mercury

Ecotrope | Jan. 3, 2011 10:50 p.m. | Updated: Feb. 19, 2013 1:42 p.m.

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Are smaller albacore tuna safer to eat than bigger ones? That's what the Oregon Albacore Commission argues in the face of reports that some canned tuna contains dangerously high levels of mercury.

Are smaller albacore tuna safer to eat than bigger ones? That's what the Oregon Albacore Commission argues in the face of reports that some canned tuna contains dangerously high levels of mercury.

New tests by Consumer Reports showed higher mercury levels in canned white (albacore tuna) than in light tuna. The ongoing controversy over mercury in fish points a finger at polluters and raises concerns over how much tuna is safe for children and pregnant women to eat. The Chicago Tribune investigated the issue in 2005 and did a good job explaining the health risks and regulatory issues.

For the past several years, the Oregon albacore tuna fleet has been trying to counter nationwide tuna scares by highlighting the relatively low mercury content in Oregon’s wild-caught albacore fish. The fish caught off the Northwest coast by trollers are smaller than the ones caught elsewhere by large longliners, and according to the Oregon Albacore Commission, haven’t accumulated as much mercury and are safer to eat. Researchers at Oregon State University has done some of its own tests to back up the fleet’s claims. I’ll be giving this issue some more attention in the future. Stay tuned …

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