Over 85% of seafood caught in Australia is sustainable – but does this mean it is the most nutritious choice available on the market? 

Sustainable seafood refers to the produce that has undergone minimal impact on fish populations and the marine environment. Species that are often classified ‘better choices’ are often seafood that has not been overfished and are caught or farmed using techniques that have low environmental impacts. These include choosing smaller, fast-growing species and avoiding top predators, including swordfish, shark and tuna. 

 What about considering the nutritional quality vs. sustainability of seafood on the market?

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What makes a certain seafood choice healthier than another?

 Think S.M.A.S.H. (Salmon, Mackerel, Anchovy, Sardines, Herring)

Protein – Essential Amino Acids

SMASH fish provide one of the highest quality of amino acids, building blocks of protein that are essential to support and maintain muscle cell and tissue growth, important for overall health and immunity.

 Long-chain Omega 3 fatty acids 

These types of fats are high in anti-inflammatory properties, essential to heart, brain and joint health. Robust research supports the intake of these fats for healthy levels of “good” cholesterol in the blood. 

 Lower in mercury 

We know that too much mercury in the diet can be toxic in the body and SMASH fish have the lowest amount of mercury, therefore all the more reason to include them in a sustainable diet.  

 Vitamin D 

Sunlight is the most bioavailable source of Vitamin D; however, we don’t always get the opportunity to soak up enough sun! SMASH fish provide a good source of Vitamin D, a hormone, important for calcium absorption, cell growth and releases serotonin – our happy hormone!  

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Less than 1% of adults reported eating sardines and mackerel which were considered some of the most nutritious and sustainable varieties.

 Whilst certain breeds of tuna are in the avoidance list, canned tuna is brand dependant. See image to the right. Click here to see the complete breakdown of tuna brands.


Aim for 2-3 serves of fish per week. See below for some great ways to add SMASH into your life!

1.    Salmon & Sweet Potato or Pumpkin Patties 

2.    Baked or Pan-fried with a yummy roasted vegetable and quinoa salad! 

3.    Simply add a sustainably sourced can of tuna, salmon or sardines to a sandwich, whole-grain crackers for an “open sandwich” or throw them into your salad! 

Written by Aimee Boidin (Lane Cove and Wahroonga Dietitian)