The effects of modified atmosphere and vacuum packing on K values, microbial and sensory changes in herring (2 days in ice post capture) when stored at 2+/-2 degrees C are investigated for up to 16 days. Although chemical and microbiological analyses indicated that CO(2) and vacuum packing prolonged the shelf life of herring, compared with storage in ice, sensory analysis showed that the extension of shelf life was only with MAP (10 days) and VP (8 days). It was also found that 60% CO(2) treatments showed lower K values compared to those observed for aerobically held fish. The results showed significant (P < 0.05) differences between ice and MAP storage conditions. In addition, CO(2) decreased the formation of Hx compared to aerobically and vacuum-held samples. (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.