The effect of ice containing thyme (0.04% w/v), oregano (0.03% w/v) and clove (0.02% w/v) extracts on the quality parameters of anchovy (Engraulis encrasicholus) was assessed through the chemical, sensory and microbiological methods. According to sensory analyses, anchovy stored in ice prepared with each plant extracts had a shelf life of 12 days, while batch stored in traditional ice had a shelf life of 9 days. pH were not significantly affected by the presence of plant extracts in the ice. However, a marked antioxidant effect (P < 0.05) could be detected with fish kept under plant extract icing systems, according to peroxide (PV) and thiobarbituric acid (TBA) values. Moreover, the employment of such icing systems led to lower (P < 0.05) total volatile base-nitrogen (TVB-N) value and free fatty acid (FFA) formation. Thus, TVB-N proved to be a suitable index for the spoilage of anchovies during chilled storage. The employment of such icing systems also led to significantly lower counts of aerobic mesophiles and psychrotrophic bacteria in anchovy muscle with skin, as compared with the traditional ice batch. This work demonstrates that the use of ice with plant extracts for the storage of gutted and beheaded anchovy can be recommended to improve the quality and extend the shelf life. (C) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.