An accurate, quantitative, and rapid method for the measurement of thiaminase activity in fish samples is required to provide sufficient information to characterize the role of dietary thiaminase in the onset of thiamine deficiency in Great Lakes salmonines. A radiometric method that uses 14C-thiamine was optimized for substrate and co-substrate (nicotinic acid) concentrations, incubation time, and sample dilution. Total thiaminase activity was successfully determined in extracts of selected Great Lakes fishes and invertebrates. Samples included whole-body and selected tissues of forage fishes. Positive control material prepared from frozen alewives Alosa pseudoharengus collected in Lake Michigan enhanced the development and application of the method. The method allowed improved discrimination of thiaminolytic activity among forage fish species and their tissues. The temperature dependence of the thiaminase activity observed in crude extracts of Lake Michigan alewives followed a Q10 = 2 relationship for the 1-37??C temperature range, which is consistent with the bacterial-derived thiaminase I protein. ?? Copyright by the American Fisheries Society 2005.