Abstract Aims: To evaluate biogenic amine formation and microbial spoilage in fresh and thawed chilled garfish. Methods and Results: Storage trials were carried out with fresh and thawed garfish fillets at 0 or 5oC in air or in modified atmosphere packaging (MAP: 40% CO2 and 60% N2). During storage, sensory, chemical and microbial changes were recorded and histamine formation by isolates from the spoilage microflora was evaluated at 5oC. Photobacterium phosphoreum was responsible for histamine formation (>1000 ppm) in chilled fresh garfish. The use of MAP did not reduce the histamine formation. Strongly histamine-producing P. phosphoreum isolates formed 2080-4490 ppm at 5oC, whereas below 60 ppm was formed by other P. phosphoreum isolates. Frozen storage inactivated P. phosphoreum and consequently reduced histamine formation in thawed garfish at 5oC markedly. Conclusions: Photobacterium phosphoreum can produce above 1000 ppm of histamine in chilled fresh garfish stored both in air and in MAP. Freezing inactivates P. phosphoreum, extends shelf life and markedly reduces histamine formation in thawed MAP garfish during chilled storage. Significance and Impact of the Study: At 5oC, more than 1000 ppm of histamine was formed in garfish; thus even when it is chilled this product represents a histamine fish-poisoning risk.