Mos plays a crucial role in meiotic cell division in vertebrates. In Xenopus, Mos is involved in the initiation of oocyte maturation as an initiator and in the arrest at the metaphase II stage (MII) as a component of the cytostatic factor (CSF). The function of Mos is mediated by MAP kinase (MAPK). We investigated the function of the Mos/MAPK pathway during goldfish oocyte maturation induced by 17alpha,20beta-dihydroxy-4-pregnen-3-one (17alpha,20beta-DP), a natural maturation-inducing hormone in fishes. Mos was absent in immature goldfish oocytes. It appeared before the onset of germinal vesicle breakdown (GVBD), increased to a maximum in mature oocytes arrested at MII and disappeared after fertilization. MAPK was activated after Mos synthesis but before maturation-promoting factor (MPF) activation, and its activity reached maximum at MII. Injection of either Xenopus or goldfish c-mos mRNA into one blastomere of 2-cell-stage Xenopus and goldfish embryos induced metaphase arrest, suggesting that goldfish Mos has a CSF activity. Injection of constitutively active Xenopus c-mos mRNA into immature goldfish oocytes induced MAPK activation, but neither MPF activation nor GVBD occurred. Conversely, the injection of goldfish c-mos antisense RNA inhibited both Mos synthesis and MAPK activation in the 17alpha,20beta-DP-treated oocytes, but these oocytes underwent GVBD. These results indicate that the Mos/MAPK pathway is not essential for initiating goldfish oocyte maturation despite its general function as a CSF. We discuss the general role of Mos/MAPK during oocyte maturation, with reference to the difference in contents of inactive MPF (pre-MPF) stored in immature oocytes.