ABSTRACT: A means to accelerate fish sauce fermentation without adversely affecting fish sauce quality was investigated. Starter cultures prepared from Virgibacillus sp. SK33, Virgibacillus sp. SK37, and Staphylococcus sp. SK1-1-5 were added separately to anchovy that was hydrolyzed by 0.25% Alcalase at 60 °C for 2 h followed by 0.5% Flavourzyme at 50 °C for 4 h. The mixtures were then adjusted to contain 25% solar salt and incubated at 35 °C for 4 mo. α-Amino contents of all inoculated samples were higher than the control (without the addition of starter culture) during the course of fermentation. After 4-mo fermentation, the samples inoculated with Staphylococcus sp. SK1-1-5 contained the highest α-amino content of 733.37 ± 13.89 mM while that of the control was 682.67 ± 3.33 mM. Amino acid profiles of inoculated samples showed similar patterns to that of commercial product fermented for 12 mo, with glutamic, aspartic, and lysine being predominant amino acids. Virgibacillus sp. SK33 appeared to decrease histamine content of fish sauce by 50% when compared to the control. Volatile compounds analyzed by GC–MS of all inoculated samples fermented for 4 mo exhibited a similar pattern to those of the 12-mo-old commercial product. Samples inoculated with Staphylococcus sp. SK1-1-5 produced higher levels of volatile fatty acids and showed similar sensory characteristics to the commercial fish sauce fermented for 12 mo. Staphylococcus sp. SK1-1-5 is a potential strain that can be applied to produce fish sauce with overall sensory characteristics of traditional fish sauce in shorter time.