top of page

Buying fresh fish

Fish are fragile creatures and their quality begins to deteriorate within minutes of being taken out of the water. So, it’s essential to know how to buy fresh fish. Where to buy fish?

Choosing where to purchase fish is as important as choosing which fish to buy.

  • Buy fish that spends the least amount of time from the boat to the plate.

  • Buy fish that has been handled properly and in a store/market with a high turnover.

Fresh Fish Signs

Freshness is the key to preparing delicious seafood.

  • The fish's eyes should be clear. If the eyes are cloudy, the fish was probably harvested more than five days ago.

  • The interior gills should be moist and bright red. Pink or brownish gray tells you the fish has either been mishandled or is old.

  • The skin should be shiny, moist, and even slippery and the scales must be firmly attached to the skin.

  • Smell the fish. There should be no unpleasant odour. Fresh fish does not smell bad. It should smell moist and sea-fresh.

  • Touch the fish. The flesh should be firm and elastic to bounce back when touched. If your finger leaves and indentation, the fish is beginning to get soft and is probably old.

  • Fresh fillets or steak cuts should look moist and firm

Storing Fresh Fish

It is best to cook and eat the fish on the same day of purchase. If you need to store it wrap fish in waxed paper or place in a covered dish and store in the fridge for a day or two.

Frozen fish may be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. Once unfrozen, Cook as soon as possible and do not freeze again.

For fish, you’ll often see both fresh fish that’s never been frozen and “fresh-frozen” which means that it was deep-chilled immediately after catching to keep it in the best possible shape. Without fresh-frozen fish, seafood would be far more limited in seasonality and regionality, so don’t be afraid of the word frozen when you are buying fresh seafood.

See more guidance


bottom of page