Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Fish Health Center?
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has several fish health centers that provide service, expertise and information supporting the Service’s mission to promote and protect aquatic animal health. Fish health center personnel must apply the knowledge of several diverse scientific disciplines including fish biology, microbiology, epidemiology, toxicology, pathology, physiology, histology, and genetics.
How do fish get sick?
Fish, like all animals, may suffer from environmental, nutritional and infectious diseases. Organisms such as parasites, bacteria and viruses are pathogens capable of causing disease in cultured and wild populations of fish. Poor nutrition and water quality can also cause disease under stressful conditions.
Why perform a National Wild Fish Survey?
The most important weapon needed to control or prevent fish diseases is knowledge. Currently, there is very little information about the relationship between presence of pathogens in wild fish and its likelihood of producing disease in either wild or hatchery reared fish. Valuable stocks of fish are at risk because of our lack of knowledge about the distribution of pathogens and parasites in wild fish.
What kind of sampling is used in the survey?
Sampling will involve collecting tissue samples to screen for certain bacteria, viruses and parasites that may pose a risk to fish health.