Relationships between the various body proximate components and dry matter content were examined for five species of fishes, representing anadromous, marine and freshwater species: chum salmon Oncorhynchus keta, Chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha, brook trout Salvelinus fontinalis, bluefish Pomatomus saltatrix and striped bass Morone saxatilis. The dry matter content or per cent dry mass of these fishes can be used to reliably predict the per cent composition of the other components. Therefore, with validation it is possible to estimate fat, protein and ash content of fishes from per cent dry mass information, reducing the need for costly and time-consuming laboratory proximate analysis. This approach coupled with new methods of non-lethal estimation of per cent dry mass, such as from bioelectrical impedance analysis, can provide non-destructive measurements of proximate composition of fishes. ?? 2008 The Authors.