This study investigated the effects of Lactobacillus plantarum 120, Saccharomyces cerevisiae 2018 and Staphylococcus xylosus 135 inoculation on N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and its precursors formation, and on microbiological characteristics of Chinese traditional fermented fish products (CTFPs). The results indicated that three strains could directly degrade NDMA in culture broth, and the highest degradation rate was observed in L. plantarum 120. The lactic acid bacteria counts in samples inoculated with L. plantarum 120 and mixed starter cultures were significantly (P < 0.05) higher than the others during the initial and middle fermentation stages (≤3 weeks). The final contents of total volatile base nitrogen, trimethylamine, dimethylamine, nitrite and NDMA in inoculated samples were significantly (P < 0.05) lower than those in spontaneous fermentation samples. According to these results, the inoculation with autochthonous starter cultures was a promising method to inhibit the NDMA and its precursors accumulation in CTFPs during fermentation process.