Frequently Asked Questions About Purchasing Fish

Everything you ever needed to know about purchasing and storing fresh fish.

Norway is the home of seafood, so we’re the experts when it comes to choosing delicious fish. Below you’ll find answers to some of the most common questions we’re asked about the process of buying fish. 

What is the exact definition of "fresh fish"?

Fish is called "fresh" when it has been kept cold, but has not been frozen, processed or prepared in any way before reaching the fishmonger. 

How long does fish usually spend on a fishmonger’s stall?

It depends on the country and species. Fish kept in a cold room or a refrigerated display case should preserve its quality for at least a week. 

How do I recognize good quality fish?

Fish should have a fresh odour, the flesh should be firm and the eyes should be bright and clear—see our buying guide for more information. A fillet will be tender and free of muscle contraction. Good quality fish must be handled with care and kept clean. 

Do all fish have the same shelf life?

No—it depends on the species and season. Salmon, white halibut and cod have the best flavour after a day or two of being in storage, while herring and mackerel should be eaten on the day of purchase. To preserve shelf life, the cold chain should be maintained from catch to counter. 

Should I eat fish as soon as possible after purchasing?

Not necessarily. Just like meat, some fish needs to mature to reveal its best flavour. If you know the date the fish was caught or slaughtered, you can work out how long it can be stored in the fridge. Proper handling, storage and preparation help to preserve the quality of fish. There will normally be a best before date on the packaging. 

How many days can you keep fresh fish in the refrigerator?

Fish should be stored in a fridge with ice and eaten 1-2 days after purchase. Keep in mind that your fridge might keep food at a higher temperature than cold rooms or refrigerated displays. If you do not plan to eat the fish within 2 days, you can wrap it in a moisture-proof bag (to prevent it from drying out) and pop it in the freezer.

N.B. The longer fish remains at room temperature, the quicker you will need to eat it. 

Is this the same for sushi?

Farmed fish—salmon, fjord trout and halibut from Norway is the ONLY fish that can be eaten raw without freezing. All other fish must be frozen to kill parasites before being used for sushi.