31Phosphorus-Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (31P-NMR) was used to evaluate degree of freshness of loach muscle depending on metabolic changes of high energy phosphate compounds. The phosphocreatine ([PCr])/inorganic phosphate ([Pi]) ratio was found to be a sensitive index of early metabolic hypofunction. Ratios of [PCr]/β-phosphate of ATP ([β-ATP]), and [Pi]/[β-ATP] were demonstrated to be appropriate indexes to estimate such metabolic changes in fresh fish. The intramuscular levels of creatine phosphate, ATP and pH were maintained at higher levels in blood-drained loach than in untreated fish. The freshness of fish which were bled and washed at lower temperatures were better preserved.