Fish Health Centers within the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service provide service, expertise and information that:
- Contributes to health, survival, restoration and enhancement of fish and other aquatic species in support of national and regional priorities.
- Supports hatchery operations to provide quality fish that contribute to ecosystem management objectives.
- Fosters a proactive and cooperative approach to comprehensive fish health to prevent catastrophic losses to the resource.
- Assists in the development of management strategies through assessment and applied research to support the protection of wild stocks and restoration of threatened and endangered species.
- Enhances and supports ecosystem management by participation and contribution to ecosystem teams.
- Educates key publics about the elements of comprehensive fish health and its critical significance to healthy aquatic ecosystems.
Comprehensive aquatic animal health requires:
- Monitoring, diagnostics, and inspections of aquatic animals including their physiological and biological characteristics.
- An understanding of the condition, individual requirements, and interactions of wild and cultured fish related to disease and aquatic health.
- Application of diverse scientific fields such as microbiology, fish biology, epidemiology, toxicology, pathology, physiology, histology, and genetics.
- Active representation in management through providing information, risk analysis and management alternatives for decision making.
- Education of priority publics about the value of comprehensive fish health in preventing catastrophic losses and improving survivability of aquatic species.
Our Priority Publics are:
- Hatchery Managers - to provide information and services so they can better manage culture operations, and to enhance the quality and survival of cultured animals.
- Fish & Wildlife Service Offices - to provide information, services and tools to assist in management and evaluation of aquatic ecosystems, and to participate in the development of management recommendations.
- Federal, and State resource agencies - to form partnerships for technology, applied research, training, education, and information transfer, and to provide direct services such as virology, diagnostics, and technical assistance.
- Tribes - to provide assistance with hatcheries, training and education, information for management and to form partnerships for applied research.
Our Success in the face of change requires that we must:
- Provide our priority publics with accurate, timely and applicable services, information and management alternatives.
- Enhance and develop staff expertise or partnerships to secure capabilities in the areas of: epidemiology, physiology, genetics, histology, toxicology, genetics, and non-lethal sampling.
- Incorporate and apply the most recent research and advances in fish health clinical technology.
- Adapt new techniques from research and transfer them for use by hatchery managers and ecosystem teams to enhance aquatic resource management.
- Be actively represented as an integral part of ecosystem management.
- Anticipate emerging fish health issues and problems.
- Secure resources to continually develop fish health capabilities that are current, relevant,and effective.
- Develop and manage partnerships to enhance our expertise and our knowledge base in support of comprehensive fish health.
- Actively support and participate in partnerships that provide research in support of comprehensive fish health.
- Develop a team that is aware of and utilizes the capabilities of each team member, communicates effectively, and contributes to the development of team expertise.
- Be actively involved in professional organizations and with other animal health specialists.
- Recruit a qualified work force with the expertise that will contribute to comprehensive fish health.
- Create awareness among our priority publics of the important capabilities, services and expertise that the Service Fish Health can provide.