How long does fresh seafood last in the fridge? (5 Tips)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, ‘How long does fresh seafood last in the fridge?’. We will look in-depth at meat science that makes seafood either stay fresh or spoil. We will also look at the health benefits of regular seafood consumption.

How long does fresh seafood last in the fridge?

The whole fresh fish stays fresh for 3 days, in contradiction to fillet, which lasts for 2 days. Fresh Shellfish, on the other hand, must be consumed within 2 days.

There is always a checklist when it comes to food safety which in turn determines the shelf-life. For meats such as seafood, the standard starts right from the seawater. Assuming your fresh seafood are from the cleanest possible water body and then handled under ideal condition, you can make them last for 6 days in the fridge. Unfortunately for most of our seafood, this is not the case.

What are the refrigeration guidelines for fresh seafood?

The life of seafood depends on the handling immediately after harvesting. Considering fish were chilled immediately after harvesting until you buy, it all comes down to how you cook, store and handle it.

  • The standard guideline for optimum refrigeration temperature is from 32 to 38 Fahrenheit. If the storage temperature doesn’t lie in the range, the shelf-life of seafood would be affected.

Even if you exceed the sell-buy date, careful handling deems the date insignificant. Even if you exceed the best before date, but it has only been a day since you brought the seafood home, you can still consume them.

  • Leave your seafood in its original packaging until you are ready to consume them. If you open it up before you need to, you are only exposing the meat to environmental contaminants.

                  Keep the fresh seafood tightly wrapped and leave them in the fridge.

  • If you leave them out of the fridge for longer than two hours, discard them promptly. Exposing seafood to temperatures between 40 F to 140 F encourages bacterial growth.

You can halt the bacterial growth that takes place on your protein once again, but you cannot reverse the toxic secretions of the bacteria that have been thriving on the seafood.

  • If you leave the seafood at room temperature for more than a couple of hours, it is better not to consume them.

You can push the shelf-life of your seafood for more than two days, given that they were handled and stored adequately after harvesting. Also, you took the utmost care possible to ensure the longevity of your seafood.


How to handle fresh seafood stored in the freezer?

While most kinds of seafood can be kept frozen for 3 to 6 months, thawed sea meats come down to 1- or 2-day storage time in the refrigerator again. However, if the thawing took place in the microwave or cold water, use them immediately.

When you take out the fresh seafood from the freezer and thaw them in the fridge, they store for up to a day. Do not leave raw sea meat out of the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it.

If you defrost after you have bought them from the market or thawed them at your home, refreezing is never an option.

Why must fresh seafood be part of your diet?

Seafood is good for not only the heart and body but for brain function as well.

The American Heart Association recommends eating fish twice a week.

Seafood generally has the following nutrients that differ with different classes of seafood and species. The nutrients serve particular functions in the body by ensuring the healthy function of various organs.

Seafood is rich in good fats and proteins. Nearly all fish have omega-3 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids benefit the body by contributing to the following functions:

  • Lowering blood pressure
  • promoting brain function
  • aids fetal development
  • reducing the risk of mental illnesses
  • reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases

Other nutrients present in most seafood are potassium, calcium, magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, iron, zinc, iodine, vitamin D, and B2. 

What are the signs that indicate spoilage of seafood?

A change in smell, texture, or color is a good indicator that signals spoilt seafood.

The smell changes to a fishy, off-odor that worsens and becomes like ammonia and then putrid. 

The texture of spoiled seafood is soft and, a slimy layer appears on the surface.

The color changes to gray or green and loses its shiny look. 

Seafood spoils because it undergoes physical and chemical changes caused by microbes and oxidative changes. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, ‘How long does fresh seafood last in the fridge?’. We looked in-depth at meat science that makes seafood either stay fresh or spoil. We also looked at the health benefits of regular seafood consumption.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.