The quality assessment of wild European eel (Anguilla anguilla) stored in ice and in boxes without ice (3 +/- 1 degrees C) was investigated by the sensory analysis, levels of nucleotide breakdown products and biogenic amines for up to 19 days. Sensory analysis was assessed using the Tasmanian Food Research Unit Scheme. K and related values (K-i, G, P, H and F-r) were used as freshness indicators. Linear regressions (r(2)) obtained from K, K-i, G, P, H and F-r, were 0.95, 0.96, 0.83, 0.96, 0.99 and 0.96, respectively, for eel stored in ice whereas, for eel kept in boxes without ice, the values were 0.86, 0.86, 0.96, 0.91, 0.98 and 0.86, respectively. When eel stored in ice and in boxes without ice were considered at the limit of acceptability by assessors at similar to 12-14 days and similar to 5-7 days, respectively, the average K, Ki and P values were similar to 70-85%, H values were similar to 60% and F, values were similar to 10% for both storage conditions. The level of histamine exceeded the legal limit (5 mg/100 g fish) in eel stored without ice after 6-7 days and, in ice, after 13-14 days of storage, at which time eels were rejected by the sensory panel. The concentrations of biogenic amines were higher in eel stored in boxes without ice than in eel kept in ice. The levels of histamine in the muscle of eel kept in boxes without ice and in ice increased to the maximum levels of 17.9 mg/100 g on day 12 and 12.6 mg/100 g on day 19, respectively. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.