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Old 02-11-2005, 07:01 PM   #1
Vinny
 
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Questions about eating kings..

I once heard it said that, "Whoever eats the most kingfish, eats the most mercury."

Number 1) Is this true?

Number 2) Why would kings be any more contaminated than, say, ling? Or any other species?

Tu Primo
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Old 02-11-2005, 09:39 PM   #2
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Brew2 i dont know

the smaller kings are the better eating ones anyways. release the mercury infested big ones, the big money tourny guys will like that.

bone
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Old 02-12-2005, 04:15 AM   #3
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I heard eating Kings over 40lb will make you GLOW in the dark
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Old 02-12-2005, 07:42 AM   #4
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Mercury collects over time. The slower growing fish contain more mercury because they are older. Fast growing fish like Dorado contain very little mercury by comparison. Kings are a relatively slower growing fish and mercury has more time to accumulate. Unless you eat Kings every week of the year, you probably have no danger of becoming mentally incompetent.I wouldn't advise feeding your kids those older bigger tunas and kings several times a week, the mercury will accumulate.
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Old 02-12-2005, 10:59 AM   #5
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Question I have always wondered where the merc collects....

Surely when they issue a warning about mercury in fish they test using fillets and not the whole fish. I mean if the mercury collects in the fishes skin, bones, liver or other organs but not in the flesh then there would really be no problem eating fillets. Mercury would be bad for the fish but not for the fish fillet eater. Does anyone know ?
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:08 AM   #6
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OK, I understand the thinking that smaller kings are "saf-ER" to eat than the larger kings, but as I do the math, there is something about this line of reasoning that is still bothering me.

It appears that all fish accumulate X units of mercury per year of their lives. Therefore, a 3 yr old king, or tuna, or snapper, or whatever, will have 3 units of mercury in its body. A 9 yr old fish will have 9 units in its body, however, it will also have more mass than the 3 yr old fish of the same species.

Therefore, it is looking to me, like the RATIO of mercury per bite of fish that we put in our mouths, is more or less the same, whether we are eating a two yr old dorado or a 10 yr old king. If we eat 3, three yr old dorados, we have eaten the same units of mercury as if we had eaten a nine yr old dorado. Same with kings, tuna, snapper, ling, tilefish, or whatever. The math is telling me that we are all getting the same ratio of mercury per bite of filet, whether we are eating a 50 pound king or a 3 pound dorado.

A 40 pound king will have more units of mercury than a 40 pound tuna, because the king gains fewer pounds of weight per year than the tuna - this is true - HOWEVER, a six year old king and a six year old tuna will have the same units of mercury in their bodies. The only difference is that in the tuna those units of mercury are a little more spread out due to its heavier mass. So how can we say that it is safer to eat a 70 pound tuna than a 40 pound king? Either way, we have ingested the same units of mercury.

Where have I made my mistake in my calculations?

Tu Primo

Last edited by Vinny; 02-12-2005 at 11:40 AM.
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Old 02-12-2005, 11:38 AM   #7
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Mercuryfish

It's my understanding that the fast-swimming fish that feed at the top of the water column will have more mercury in their flesh. If you've ever looked at the color of the fillets from a big (40 pound plus) kingfish, these are not pretty pink and wholesome looking - they're gray. Fillets from small kings aren't nearly so discolored.

Many years ago, before we were aware of the GOM Kingfish advisory, I caught and ate a 47-pound king. Made about 20 meals. It's flesh was an ugly gray, but with lemonaide marinade and lots of black pepper it was entirely edible. Knowing what I know now, I would never eat one of those again. I caught a 53-pound King last June on the party boat trip out of Port A and ended up giving it all away.



I believe that I've heard that bottom dwellers (Snapper, Grouper, Redfish) aren't nearly as prone to mercury contamination because they grow faster and feed on other bottom-dwellers, and environmental mercury doesn't get down that far - at least not at the levels as at the surface.
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Old 02-12-2005, 12:02 PM   #8
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Yes, it is true that a filet from a small king is pink and tasty, and a filet from a bigger older king is gray and yukky - but this is not because of mercury. This is natural. If you went back to the year 1505, and caught a big old king, his filet would be gray and yukky.

Mercury conamination is free of odor, color, or taste. And it permeates every cell of the body, be it liver, filet, eyeball, or tooth enamel.

Tu Primo
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Old 02-12-2005, 12:04 PM   #9
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Mercury is measured as parts per million, or in other words amount of mercury per a given unit of weight. If they were to say 40 lb kings have twice as muchmercury as a 10 lb king, there would 8 times more mercury in the larger fish if you wanted to know the TOTAL amount of mercury in the fish. 4X more weight and each pound of te bigger fish has twice the mercury.

The reason the larger fish accumulate a lot more mercury is many fold, but a few of the key factors is that every pound of food a fish eats does not equate to a pound of flesh the fish adds. However the danger of heavy metals, such as mercury is that fish (and humans) cannot get rid of the heavy metals they eat. Therefore the longer you live the more concentrated the mercury becomes. If a pound of food eaten added a pound of flesh you would not get this accumulation. In addition larger kings eat larger fish which have more mercury than the smaller fish the smaller kings eat. It also has to do with what part of the ocean they live in and what they eat. Yellowfin have less mercury than blackfin tuna becasue blackfins live closer to shore where the mercury levels are higher.

Mark
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Old 02-12-2005, 12:35 PM   #10
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Yep, the units are normalized (think about it in terms of percentage). So a bite of a larger king has more Hg than a bite from a smaller one.
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