The effect of washing and refrigeration on the quality of sea bream (Sparus aurata) was studied by monitoring the microbiological, chemical, and sensory changes of washed samples with tap water and non-washed samples. Washing dramatically reduced populations of bacteria, namely aerobic mesophilic bacteria (6.4-6.2 log cfu/g for gutted sea bream and 6.6-6.1 log cfu/g for whole gutted sea bream), psychrotrophic bacteria (6.7-6.0 log cfu/g and 6.8-6.1 log cfu/g), and H2S-producing bacteria (6.4-5.4 log cfu/g and 6.7-5.5 log cfu/g) after 13 days of storage. Total volatile basic nitrogen (TVB-N) values showed no significant increase for all group of sea bream samples during storage. Of the chemical indicators of spoilage, trimethylamine (TMA) values of non-washed and washed sea bream increased very slowly and reached a final value of 1.35-1.47 mg/100 g (gutted fish) and 1.36-1.38 mg/100 g (whole fish), respectively (day 13). Sensory evaluation showed a good correlation with bacterial populations. On the basis of overall acceptability scores (sensory evaluation) a shelf-life of 12 days (washed and non-washed samples) was obtained for gutted and whole sea bream.