Fish Health Center biologist sampling fish during a wild fish health survey. (Photo Credit: USFWS - NEFC)
This project, launched in 1997, continues to involve all nine Service Fish Health Centers nationwide, incorporating standardized diagnostic techniques and data management methods to ensure comparability. Species of major interest for the Lamar Fish Health Center includes Atlantic salmon, brook trout, and brown trout for management programs; carp for prevalence of Spring Viremia of Carp virus, and largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, redbreasted sunfish, and pumpkinseeds for prevalence of largemouth bass virus (LMBV). The National Wild Fish Health Survey Database which is capable of single and double queries based on either fish species or fish pathogens, is now accessible via the internet on the Service website. The National Wild Fish Health Survey is partnership driven and outreach activities to increase awareness of the National Wild Fish Health Survey and involve other Service and partnering programs continue.
Example of biosecurity at Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery. (Photo Credit: USFWS - CBNFH)
The Lamar Fish Health Center continues to provide extension services to all federal, state, tribal and private inquiries in the area of fish health. Services provided include technical consultations, provision of supplies for fish necropsies, treatment recommendations and calculations, antibiotic injections, vaccinations, development of biosecurity plans, review of international and interstate fish importations, and furnishing procedural protocols . Participation within the Service’s National Investigational New Animal Drug program administered by the Aquatic Animal Drug Approval Partnership ( AADAP) Program in Bozeman is an integral requirement for providing treatment recommendations that are both safe and effective, and thereby approved by U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Fish Health Inspection/Monitoring/Diagnostic Services
Fish Health Center biologist inspecting a tissue sample. (Photo Credit: USFWS - NEFC)
Fish health inspections are conducted at service and cooperating hatcheries in order to allow interstate transfer as well as release of fish. Ten federal (or cooperating with a federal program) facilities receive these on-site statistically )based investigations and others (non-Service entities), as outlined in the Service Fish Health Policy, receive virology lab services only. The Lamar Fish Health Center / Region 5 has a very extensive fish health monitoring program to enhance the fish health inspections, allowing continual surveillance of the health status of the stocks, some of which have been identified as very limited distinct population segments (DPS) which the Service has listed under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). This surveillance consists of screening fresh mortalities for parasites, bacteria, and viruses, and accounts for approximately 250 fish tested from five Service broodstock facilities annually. Another strategy that enhances the screening of Service stocks is the collection and testing of spawning products for those pathogens that are vertically transmitted (passed on to offspring). Typically reproductive fluids from over 2200 fish spawned at nine Service facilities and two partnering fish hatcheries are examined. These examinations are essential to prevent the spread of fish diseases through fish and/or egg transfers and are necessary to enable facilities to comply with regulations on transporting and releasing fish. In addition to the inspection and monitoring cases involving examination of fish, 2 Service facilities provide water monitoring cases, where water from rearing units is examined by the water filtration method, a very effective proactive protocol for diagnosing furunculosis before an epizootic occurs. Diagnostic exams, where moribund fish are examined to determine the cause(s) of mortalities and other problems is another Service the Lamar Fish Health Center provides. Most importantly with these diagnostic cases, recommendations for resolution are provided.
Vaccination of Pre-Release Connecticut River Smolts Using Multi-Valent Vaccine
Vaccinating Atlantic salmon smolts at Pittsford National Fish Hatchery. (Photo Credit: USFWS - NEFC)
The Lamar Fish Health Center , in cooperation with partners involved with the Connecticut River Atlantic Salmon Committee, coordinated and administered injectable vaccine to 75,000 Atlantic salmon smolts the Pittsford NFH in 2005. This is the fourth year of administering this vaccine. The vaccine will protect the fish during their stay at the hatchery, as well as up to a year after they are released into the river from the bacterial pathogens that cause furunculosis and vibriosis. Evaluation of the efficacy of the vaccine in improving salmon survival in the wild will be based on adult sea run returns.
Non-Lethal Blood Screening of Sea-Run Atlantic Salmon Adults for Infectious Salmon Anemia Virus Prior to Spawning
Fish Health Center biologist sampling an sea-run Atlantic salmon for ISAV. (Photo Credit: USFWS - NEFC)
The Lamar Fish Health Center continues to screen feral Atlantic salmon held captive for spawning at three Service facilities for Infectious Salmon Anemia (ISA) virus. As fish are collected at trap sites, hatchery, cooperator, or health center staff draw blood which is tested by cell culture and molecularly (PCR) for ISA virus. If testing of all incoming fish is not possible upon receipt, the entire population is tested in prior to spawning. This surveillance is conducted to avoid/reduce the possibility of spawning ISA virus positive fish at a Service facility and contaminate an entire production year of salmon fry.
Intro to Fish Health Course
Fish Health Center biologist demonstrating techniques during the Intro To Fish Health Course. (Photo Credit: USFWS - NEFC)
Intro to Fish Health is a beginning level, introductory program that familiarizes participants with signs, causes, control and prevention of infectious and non-infectious fish diseases. This one week course taught at the National Conservation Training Center (NCTC) is designed for fisheries biologists, fish hatchery personnel, fish health biologists and wildlife biologists interested in fish health techniques.
January 19, 2017
Northeast Fishery Center
308 Washington Ave.
Lamar, PA 16848