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Fresh Thoughts Dining Series Teams up with Oceana to Present an Interactive Dining Experience on Seafood Fraud


Think you know your fish? According to recent studies, seafood is commonly mislabeled and consumers are routinely served something other than what is represented on the menu or at the fish counter. In fact, Oceana recently found that one-third of the 1,215 fish samples it collected nationwide were mislabeled, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration guidelines.

Guests who attend the June 19 Fresh Thoughts dinner at the National Aquarium, Washington, DC, will enjoy a cocktail reception and fine-dining experience from Chef Xavier Deshayes of the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center that will test their knowledge of seafood. Chef Deshayes’ courses will pair commonly swapped species side-by-side and ask the audience to identify the fish on their plate, begging the question “Do you know what you’re really eating?” The interactive dining experience will include a hearty discussion on seafood fraud with Chef Deshayes as well as National Aquarium and Oceana experts.

Oceana’s Campaign Director Beth Lowell, will be joining the conversation on behalf of the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Lowell directs Oceana’s campaigns to Stop Seafood Fraud and Promote Responsible Fishing. Lowell has recently appeared in segments by The Dr. Oz Show, FOX News, NBC TODAY, and Nightly News with Brian Williams.

Passionate about the topic of seafood fraud, Chef Deshayes has meticulously developed sustainable and environmentally conscious menus for large-scale catering by thoroughly researching the product he sources for the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, one of Washington’s largest event venues. Chef Deshayes is known to visit in-person the aquaculture farms he considers for use. His partnership with the National Aquarium and the Fresh Thoughts Dining Series, now in its third year, has afforded him the opportunity to travel domestically and internationally to experience first-hand the traceability of the fish he selects for his seasonal menus.

Tickets for each dinner are priced at $79 for National Aquarium members and $89 for non-members. Tickets can be purchased at or by calling 202-789-2782. Fresh Thoughts Sustainable Seafood Dining Series dinners take place at 6:30 p.m. at National Aquarium, Washington, DC, located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20230. The dinner event also includes an after-hours stroll in the National Aquarium.

About Seafood Fraud
Seafood fraud can come in many different forms – from mislabeling fish and falsifying documents, to adding too much ice to packaging.

Today, more than 90 percent of the seafood consumed in the U.S. is imported, while less than 1 percent is inspected by the government specifically for fraud. With more than 1,700 different species of seafood from all over the world now available for sale in the U.S., it is unrealistic to expect consumers to be able to independently and accurately determine what they are actually eating.

Despite growing concern about where our food comes from, consumers are frequently served the wrong fish – a completely different species than the one they paid for. Oceana and others have found that seafood mislabeling often disguises fish that are less desirable, cheaper or more readily available.

Our fish often travels through an increasingly complex and obscure seafood supply chain, making it difficult to identify if fraud is occurring on the boat, during processing, at the retail counter or somewhere else along the way.

Oceana is calling on the federal government to require traceability of all seafood sold in the U.S. Tracking fish from boat to plate would not only significantly reduce seafood fraud and help keep illegally caught fish out of the U.S. market, it would also give consumers more information about the fish they purchase, including the species name, where, when and how it was caught, if it was farmed or previously frozen and if any additives were using during processing. 

Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 550,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit

The Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (RRB/ITC)
Showcasing 3.1 million square feet of mixed-use space, the RRB/ITC, which is owned and operated by the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), is the District of Columbia’s largest building and the nation’s second-largest government building after the Pentagon. Since it opened its doors in 1998, the RRB/ITC’s dramatic interior of stone, steel and glass has been welcoming millions of visitors each year.

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