Eating Yukon fish



Health benefits

Fish are an excellent source of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals important for good health1. Canada’s Food Guide recommends that we eat at least two servings (of 75 grams each) of fish each week. Eating fish on a regular basis can also lower the risk of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes2.

Rich in omega-3 fatty acids

Numerous studies and reports have linked eating a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids to many health benefits like lower blood pressure, a reduced risk of heart attack, and even increased longevity3,4.

Fish vary in the amount of omega-3 fatty acids they contain. Some fish from our clean, cold Yukon waters have levels that are equal to or greater than other store-bought fish.


Omega-3 fatty acids

(g/100g serving)

Yukon fish lake whitefish 0.72
northern pike 0.21
lake trout 0.18
Other fish pollock 0.38
haddock 0.18
Atlantic cod 0.19
halibut 0.51
coho salmon (non Yukon) 1.23
chinook salmon (non Yukon) 2.32

Omega-3 fatty acid values for Yukon fish are based on an average value from a small number of fish that have been sampled. Further work will determine levels in other Yukon species and how these levels may vary from lake to lake. Omega-3 fatty acid values for non-Yukon fish from Health Canada: Canadian Nutrient File 2010.

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Fish Health

Yukon fish are generally healthy and are a good food choice. Like any population, some fish in Yukon may have parasites or diseases that may affect the fish themselves, or the people or animals that eat them. When handling, cleaning or cooking any fish, follow good food safety practices, such as those found in the Yukon Fish Health Handbook.

Parasite load varies between species and lakes. Some fish populations in Yukon tend to have a higher parasite load. Please do not harvest these fish unless you plan on eating them.

For more information, download the Yukon Fish Health Handbook.

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Recent studies have shown that Yukon fish are safe to eat. Men, and women who are not of child-bearing age, and children over the age of 12, can eat as much lake trout and burbot as they wish.
Women of child-bearing age and children under 12 should limit their consumption of large Yukon lake trout and burbot to:

  • less than 40 cm (less than 2 lbs) = unlimited consumption
  • between 40 and 60 cm (between 2 - 6 lbs) = limit to 3 to 4 meals per week
  • greater than 60 cm (or more than 6 lbs) = limit to 1 or 2 meals per week

mercury in fish info sheet thumbnail english

icon image - this is a pdf fileEnglish icon image - this is a pdf fileFrench


These Health Canada guidelines allow us to recommend safe consumption limits with a high degree of confidence. Fish in a number of Yukon lakes have been tested for mercury, and most of them are below Health Canada’s guideline for commercial fish.

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Botulism is a serious food poisoning caused by the toxin produced by bacteria in fish or meat that is not properly cooked immediately before eating.

Avoid botulism by:

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Contact Fish and Wildlife, Fisheries

Phone: 867-667-5721
Toll free (in Yukon, NWT & Nunavut):
1-800-661-0408 ext. 5721
Fax: 867-393-6263

Email: fisheries@gov.yk.ca
Address: Box 2703 (V-5A) Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada Y1A 2C6



  1. Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada website (accessed Jan. 2011)
  2. Journal of the American Dietetic Association 110:1018-1026
  3. Mayo Clinic website (accessed Jan. 2011)
  4. Journal of the American Medical Association 303: 250-257