T Nation

Canned fish recommendations?

I always have Geisha and Trader Joe’s canned tuna around incase I’m too lazy to cook, but I don’t consume it regularly do to possible mercury problems.

One day I saw some cans of Chicken of the Sea Mackeral for 80 cents each. Each can had 80 grams of protein and 25 grams of fat. I thought this was an AMAZING deal, until I opened it. :frowning: I didn’t mind the taste, but searching for and removing spinal bones (Or worse chewing them) totally ruins my appetite.

Does anyone know of a low-mercury, high fat canned fish brand that’s reasonably “clean”? I don’t mind the hair-thin bones, just the bigger stuff. Thanks.

Have you tried the pouch tuna? I’m not sure of the mercury levels in it, but I’ve never had any trouble with bones.

Most salmon with skin and bones has an easy to remove spinal column. For me it easily comes out as a whole once exposed. Sardines are a great choice.

The smaller fishes have lower levels of mercury, since it accumulates as it goes up the food chain. I would stick to mackerel and sardines (if you can stand the taste), and have large predatory fishes like tuna and salmon only occasionally.

Chicken of the Sea is famous for bones. Albacore tuna is lower on the food chain than regular tuna. It may cost a bit more but it has more protein per can and more EFAs.

Here’s a website with mucho information on different topics related to seafood.


I personally eat canned tuna and/or salmon 2-3x/week, even more when cutting up. I guess time will tell if any detrimental consequences will occur.

i eat starkist tuna, at sams club they go for bout 50 cents a can and u get about 35 g of protein-but it is real clean

There’s an easy way to remove the spine from salmon and mackerel in cans. Open the can, drain the juice (you gotta drink that later, have fun), then flip the can upside down and let all the meat flop out into a bowl. split it by hand down the middle, and the spine comes out easy, along with some of the bones. As far as mercury, salmon has low levels. Tuna is fairly high, the FDA recently studied it and found that the mercury in tuna was between .15 and 1.25 ppm, when “safe” is 1.15; solid tuna had the highest levels and chunk had the lowest; I don’t know what pouched tuna scored. Fresh tuna has even higher levels of mercury. As far as sardines and anchovies, I think they’re tasty but too damn salty to eat more than a spoonful.

neckcranked: Thanks, I’ll try that. clintpatty and Hyok: I’m interested in the real small fish, but most of brands I’ve seen were pretty expensive, and some were smoked, which is carcinogenic.

Judging by your handle, I’m assuming that you are of Japanese descent, so here are some fish you might have overlooked. Some smaller fish that are high in oils (not sure if they are high in omega-3) are shishamo (small fish about the size of an anchovy, packed full of roe), sanma (mackeral pike), aji (jack mackeral) and iwashi (sardines). You can buy them fresh at a Japanese market. All are good lightly salted and grilled. If you are looking for conveniently packaged fish, not sure what you can do. What you might try is cook a whole mess of them (try simmering in some soy) and you would have enough for a week.

Is there any reason I shouldn’t be eating the bones? I thought it would be a good source of, er, Vitamin Bone.