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Shipping Fresh Seafood: A Complete Guide for 2024

Fresh seafood has a special place in our hearts and on our plates. Whether you're a seafood lover, a restaurant owner, or just someone who enjoys a good meal, getting your hands on top-quality seafood is a must.

In this guide, we'll cover everything from finding the best seafood to keeping it cool during transit and making sure you follow the rules. By the time you finish reading, you'll be ready to ship seafood like a pro.

What Are the Challenges of Shipping Fresh Seafood?


seafood of different type displayed on black surface
Credit: Envato Elements/ Artem_ka2

Shipping fresh seafood comes with its fair share of challenges. This includes:

Firstly, seafood is highly perishable and sensitive to temperature changes. If the temperature gets too warm, it can spoil quickly, and if it gets too cold, it can affect its texture and flavor.

Secondly, there are strict regulations in place to ensure the safety and quality of seafood. Adhering to these guidelines requires close attention to detail, which can be a bit challenging.

Lastly, finding the right packaging materials and methods to prevent leaks and keep the seafood fresh can be a constant challenge, especially when shipping over long distances.

How to Ship Seafood Safely and Effectively


fish placed on frozen ice
Credit: Envato Elements/ lira_n4

Shipping seafood requires careful handling to ensure it reaches its destination in prime condition. Follow these steps to ship seafood safely and effectively:

Step 1: Prepare Your Seafood

Before you start packing your seafood, make sure it's fresh and properly cleaned. Remove any scales, bones, and entrails, and rinse it thoroughly with cold water. Pat it dry with paper towels to prevent excess moisture.

Step 2: Use the Right Packaging Materials

Select appropriate packaging materials to keep your seafood fresh during transit. Use a sturdy, leak-proof container or box that can withstand temperature changes. For insulation, think about using gel packs or dry ice to maintain the cold temperature. Also, wrap the seafood in plastic bags or vacuum-sealed pouches to prevent any leaks.

Step 3: Maintain the Cold Chain

Seafood is highly perishable and sensitive to temperature fluctuations. To ensure that it stays cold throughout the shipping process, place it in the shipping container with ice packs and seal it well. Label the package as "Perishable" to alert carriers and recipients.

Step 4: Choose a Reliable Carrier

Select a reputable shipping company known for handling perishable items with care. It's wise to opt for express or overnight shipping services to minimize the time seafood spends in transit. Some trustworthy options include USPS, FedEx, or UPS. Make sure to review the carrier's rules, shipping costs, and guidelines for shipping perishables, and follow them carefully.

Step 5: Proper Labeling and Documentation

Clearly label your package with essential information, including the recipient's name, address, and contact details. Attach a shipping label and a detailed list of contents. Ensure that you include any necessary permits or certificates required for shipping seafood, especially if you're sending it internationally.

Step 6: Track Your Shipment

Keep an eye on the progress of your shipment using the tracking information provided by the carrier. This allows you to monitor its journey and ensure it reaches its destination on time. If there are any delays or issues, contact the carrier promptly to address them.

Should You Pre-Freeze Fish Before Shipping?


fresh seafood placed on black plate
Credit: Envato Elements/ karandaev

Pre-freezing fish before shipping is a common practice that can help ensure the seafood arrives in good condition. Here are some considerations to help you decide whether to pre-freeze your fish:

Advantages of Pre-Freezing:

  • Pre-freezing locks in the freshness of the fish at the moment it's caught. This can be particularly beneficial if you're shipping seafood over longer distances.
  • Frozen fish is easier to maintain at the desired temperature during shipping. It reduces the risk of spoilage caused by temperature fluctuations.
  • Fish that has been properly frozen can have an extended shelf life, which means it can stay safe to eat for a longer period after arrival.

Considerations for Pre-Freezing:

  • If you decide to pre-freeze, make sure to do it correctly. Use a freezer that can reach temperatures of at least -4°F (-20°C) or lower. Wrap the fish tightly in plastic wrap or use vacuum-sealed bags to prevent freezer burn and moisture loss.
  • When shipping pre-frozen fish, use appropriate insulation and cooling materials to keep the fish frozen during transit. Dry ice or gel packs can help maintain the cold temperature.

Fresh vs. Pre-Frozen:

If you have access to fresh, just-caught fish and can make sure it stays consistently cold when shipping, you might not need to freeze it beforehand. But if the journey is longer or you're not sure about keeping the temperature consistent, it's safer to freeze it first to keep its quality.

Remember, not all fish have to be frozen before shipping. Fish like salmon and tuna are known to stay fresh when shipped without freezing. However, if you're dealing with more delicate or less commonly frozen types of fish, it's a good idea to freeze them before shipping.

Top Fresh Fish Delivery Services


big fresh fish placed on wooden table with garnish around
Credit: Envato Elements/ ImgSolut

When it comes to shipping fresh seafood, you can also rely on dedicated fresh fish delivery services to handle the logistics. These services specialize in transporting seafood with the utmost care and efficiency. Here are some top fresh fish delivery services you can consider:

  • Sea to Table: Offers a variety of fresh fish options, including wild-caught and responsibly farmed varieties.
  • Wild Alaskan Company: Offers customizable subscription boxes with options like fresh salmon, Maine lobster, cod, and halibut.
  • Catalina Offshore Products: Provides a wide selection of the freshest fish including sushi-grade seafood, and specialty items.
  • Fulton Fish Market: Offers a vast selection of fresh seafood, including fish fillets, whole fish, wild salmon, and shellfish.
  • FreshDirect: Sources high-quality fish and shellfish for customers in select locations.
  • Local Fish Markets: Consider checking out local fisherman markets in your area for the freshest seafood options.


Shipping high-quality seafood safely and effectively is crucial to ensure that the products reach their destination in the best possible condition. Whether you're a seafood distributor or just sending some fresh catches to a friend or family member, these simple steps will ensure your seafood arrives safely and maintains its quality.

And, for an added layer of assurance, consider using Nice Pack's reliable dry ice packs to maintain the perfect temperature – because the highest quality seafood deserves nothing less than the best in preservation. Shop with us today.

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