Depression affects an estimated 350million people across the world and it is projected to become the second leading cause of ill health by 2020.
A pooling of data from 26 studies involving over 150,000 participants found a 17pc reduction in the risk of depression for those eating the most fish.
The lowered risk was higher in men at 20pc and in women the figure was 16pc.
The results are published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
The researchers say there could be a “plausible biological explanation” for the results pointing to the omega 3 fatty acids in fish which modify brain activity and the high quality protein, vitamins and minerals found in fish.
“Higher fish consumption may be beneficial in the primary prevention of depression,” they conclude, adding: “Future studies are needed to further investigate whether this association varies according to the type of fish.”