Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary of Health
South Dakota Department of Health

Consumption of Fish and Seafood

Fish and seafood are an important part of a healthy diet. Fish and shellfish, collectively refrred to as fish, contain high-quality protein and other essential nutrients, are low in saturated fat, and contain omega-3 fatty acids. You should eat 8 to 12 ounces of a variety of fish every week from choices that are lower in mercury and high in omega-3 fatty acids. The nutritional value of fish and seafood is important during growth and development before birth, in early infancy for breastfed infants, in childhood, and as adults.

Women who are pregnant, might become pregnant, are breastfeeding and young children should consume fish based on 3 categories:

1) Best Choices
2) Good Choices
3) Fish to Avoid

  • Eat 8-12 ounces (2-3 servings) of a variety of fish a week from the “Best Choices” list OR 1 serving from the “Good Choices” list
    • The “Best Choices” have the lowest levels of mercury
    • A serving for an adult is 4 ounces
  • The “Fish to Avoid” list includes 7 types of fish that typically have higher mercury levels
    • Tilefish from the Gulf of Mexico, shark, swordfish, orange roughy, bigeye tuna, marlin and king mackerel 
  • For young children, 1-2 servings of fish a week starting at age 2
    • Serving sizes should be smaller and adjusted for age and total calorie needs.
    • A serving for children age 4-7 is 2 ounces
  • When eating fish you or others have caught from streams, rivers and lakes, pay attention to fish advisories on those water bodies. Please note the interactive map below or check this table for species and sizes of fish to avoid from South Dakota bodies of water
    • If advice isn't available, eat only one serving and no other fish that week. 
    • Clean and trim fish of fat and skin, since locally-caught fish may contain contaminants besides mercury that can be reduced by proper trimming and cooking (e.g. broiling instead of frying can reduce some contaminants by letting fat drip away from the fish).
  • Find more detail on this mercury and fish consumption FAQ
  • fish


    Consumption Advisories for South Dakota Rivers and Lakes

    Fish from South Dakota lakes and rivers are tested for metals, pesticides, and PCB's as a collaborative effort of the South Dakota Departments of Game, Fish & Parks, Environment & Natural Resources, and Health. Please note the interactive map below or check this table for species and sizes of fish to avoid from South Dakota bodies of water. The red triangles indicate bodies of water with consumption advisories and green fish indicate a body of water where fish tested low in mercury and other contaminants. Click on each symbol for details. For a complete table of water bodies tested in South Dakota, visit this Department of Environment and Natural Resources website.



    For more information contact: Pat Snyder, SD Department of Environment & Natural Resources, 773-4729
    John Lott, SD Department of Game, Fish & Parks, 773-4508 
    Bill Chalcraft, SD Department of Health, 773-4945

    Related links

    Share via: