Always buy the freshest fish possible. Look for clear eyes on the fish, this indicates freshness, dull-eyed fish or grey and dull indicate a fish has been stored for a long time and is not ideal.
Fish skin should look shiny and firm. If the skin is dull and has discolored markings on it, stay away, the fish is not fresh.
Smell, always smell the fish before buying, the fish should have a scent of seawater, a briny scent. Never buy a fish that has a strong odor, it is past its prime and no amount of cooking and seasoning will bring it back.
The Gills on the fish should be a rich red indicating its freshness. They should be clean and shiny. If the gills are a rusty colored faded red, pass on by, the fish is old.
Filets should be firm and vibrant with a glossy look to them. Stay away from filets where the flesh is dull and dry.
Fish that has a clear sheen depicts freshness and good quality. However a milky sticky sheen is a sign of fish past its prime and is the first stage of rot.
Fish should pass the press test. If possible, lightly push down on the fish with your finger; the flesh should be resilient and spring back to its original shape. If you press and the indentation remains, stay away.
For fresh fish in a tank, choose the ones that are moving rapidly and most alive. The ones that look like they are asleep may be living their last moments.
Try to be friendly with your local fish monger and establish a relationship, letting him or her know how much you like this fish or that one, asking if he or she will let you know when a special catch is brought in.
Buy your fish in a market that is busy. A busy market means the fish is selling and inventory is moving, providing the freshest possible seafood.
Ask questions; if you are not sure of something ask your salesperson. If the salesperson is unsure and does not seem to know what they are talking about, chances are you should find a new market, if possible.
F.A.S. Frozen at Sea is the best type of frozen fish to buy, best next to fresh.Share