Stockton Fish and Wildlife Office
Pacific Southwest Region


The accurate identification of species is essential to the usefulness of data provided by a fish monitoring program, especially where species of special concern influence economic and policy considerations. A fish identification biologist was hired in 2001 by the Stockton fish and wildlife office to design and implement a quality assessment/quality control (QA/QC) program for fish identification. A fish identification manual specific to our program was developed by the biologist and is issued to each crew member as they begin their employment with our office. At present, the fish identification manual contains photos and diagnostic characters for seventy-seven fishes found within our sampling area. A condensed version of this manual containing information for the more difficult to identify species is taken as part of the necessary gear on sampling trips. Three classes in fish identification are taught each year and pending available space, are open to other agency personnel. The quality control biologist maintains a lab collection of preserved fishes for teaching purposes and regularly performs quality control on fish identification in the field. Our fisheries biologists have served as experts for a variety of agencies for verification and quality control of fish identification.

Juvenile Steelhead
Photo: USFWS