Do your best to keep your fish fresh at the optimum temperature, it will taste fresher and you will be able to keep it longer. Keeping fish for longer depends of its storage temperature

SHELF-LIFE     0°C   15°C  








√: Fit to comsume

X: Discard

The length of time you may keep your fish at home will depend on: How fresh it was when you purchased it and how good are you at taking care of it.



white fish fillet

You may be able to keep the fresh fish you have just purchased for up to three days in your own fridge. 

If you are fortunate to be able to purchase EXTRA FRESH fish, perfectly looked after, you may be able to store it fresh for up to five days. 

Always ask your fishmonger for his advice, he will always tell for how long can you keep the fish you have just purchased

Before storing a whole fish (on the bone), you must make sure that it is properly gutted and washed. A non gutted fish will always spoile more quickly.


With high concentrations of fish oil and Omega 3, the Oily fish are the most recommmended for eating, full of goodness and natural nutrients for the body and brain. Once in contact with the air some of these oils start to oxidise and denature. Oily fish can turn rancid very quickly if not kept under optimum conditions. Particular care should to be taken with the different species of this group. Some say mackerel must be eaten on the day it is caught, this is not entirely true but is 100% right to get the best flavour.

Farmed Oily Fish: Salmon and Trout

The advantage of farmed fish is that their temperature is brought down as soon as they are harvested. They will have the same shell-life in your home fridge as any other white fish, three days, and up to five for the freshest.

Mackerel and Herring

Local and sustainable, loaded with oils and nutrients, these are some of the "must eat once a week" fish. But with their extremely high level of oil, they can spoil much quicker than any other fish. They can also loose the benefit of their exceptional nutritional value very quickly.  You should eat them on the day of purchase or the following day.

One of the by-products of fish oil oxidation is histamine, a strong allergen. In the past, prior to the general use of refrigeration, those species where often associated with Histamine poisoning with reactions ranging from an itching of the skin  to nausea and headache. The main species associated with this problem would have been oily species such as Mackerel, Tuna, and Swordfish. Nowadays regular sampling and testing takes place to ensure consumer safety.  But if you are not 100% sure about the colour or the smell of an oily fish you have stored in your fridge, do not take a chance and throw it out.        

Ray and Shark Family

These all have an appealing and distinctive flavour but they also have one other thing in common: they will develop a very distinctive smell of ammonia when kept for too long. At that stage the safest thing to do is to throw them out as they would probably put you off the species for a long time. Store for up to two days.

Tuna and Swordfish

With a very short Irish fishing season these two species are generally imported from warm tropical seas. Best enjoyed raw or slightly cooked, they need to be eaten as fresh as possible. When a steak is cut off, the outer side will start oxidising and discolouring in the ambiant air. Wrapping them well in cling film will help maintain the coloration. Store for a maximum of two days in the fridge.


shellfish pic

Shellfish must be cooked alive. If the shells are open and do not close when given a stir it's a sign that they are dead. You must discard the open shells if it's only a few, but throw out the lot if the majority are open. 

Shellfish are easy to keep, the temperature of your fridge will be perfect for them. Store them in a bowl with a damp cloth on top at the bottom of your fridge.

Their survival will depend on the species: Oysters 5 days, Mussel 2-3 days, Clams 2-3 days.

Fresh Scallop meat, off the shell, should be treated like a fresh white fish and kept for a maximum of three days.


Live produce such as crab and lobster must be cooked alive. If dead do not take a chance, even if you have splashed out on that nice expensive lobster. Wrapped in wet newspaper, they can survive for up to two days at the bottom of your fridge. Raw prawns and shrimps will keep for two days. They will keep for slightly longer once cooked.  If you are going to eat them cold, keep them live for two days, cook and chill them quickly and you will add on another two days.

Cooked crevettes and crab claws may keep for two or three days.

For the purpose of safe food, the table beneath will give you the telltale signs of when a fish or other seafood has become unfit for consumption and should be thrown out.    

WHOLE FISH Strong and Offensive Eyes: Cloudy, dull and sunken. Gills: brown to greyish. Skin: colours faded Skin: gritty or sticky to the touch
FILLETS Strong and Offensive Reddening of the flesh along the center line Skin: gritty or sticky to the touch. Flesh: soft and gaping.
SHELLFISH Fool and Putrid Majority of shells opened Sticky
SQUID Strong Pink hue on the colouration of the body Sticky
CRUSTACEANS Crab and lobster: no distinctive smell, Prawns: Sour & Ammonia Crabs & lobsters: limbs very loose, no sign of life. Prawns: Black colour developing on the edges of the legs and tail. Sticky


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