Fish Health Specialist - Epidemiologist 1 Non-Medical
Fish Program - Science - Genetics and Health Laboratories
Natural Resource Building
1111 Washington St., SE, Olympia, WA98501
Anticipated start date is May 1, 2021.
Do you want to contribute to the agency mission by providing
maximum recreational fishing opportunities while ensuring the
long-term conservation of salmon, steelhead, and inland fisheries
resources? Do you want to make a positive impact to the
recovery of federal ESA listed anadromous stocks? If so, then
join a great team that shares your interests!
The best suited candidate has strong work ethic, the
ability to take initiative, work independently and has excellent
inter-personal communication and relationship skills.
This position reports to the Aquatic Veterinarian
(Epidemiologist 3) and Fish Health Unit Supervisor for the Puget
Sound and Coastal area in the Fish Program, and is responsible for
fish health and public health by compiling; maintaining; planning;
conducting; analyzing; interpreting; and reporting on issues
related to fish health, zoonotic and non-zoonotic fish pathogens,
antimicrobial resistance associated with therapeutants; and by
conducting epidemiological investigations as connected to fish
hatchery facilities and related natural origin fish populations.
Specifically, this work addresses current and emerging risks
associated with fish diseases, prevalence of pathogens, and
associated host response(s) (i.e., immunological changes),
environmental variables that affect the disease status of fish
populations, and the potential effects of disease status on human
populations as it relates to zoonotic fish pathogens. This
position will provide epidemiological support when needed to
minimize health risks, improve biosecurity protocols, and collect
health-based samples involving live fish and provide comprehensive
health assessments for fish populations. This position will
conduct surveillance for regulated and reportable pathogens to meet
the requirements of the Salmonid Disease Control Policy of the
Co-Managers of Washington State (Policy); monitor hatchery
populations for zoonotic and non-zoonotic fish pathogens; provide
directions to Fish Program staff and aqua culturists regarding
compliance with the Policy; and as it relates to the diagnosis of
diseases and their treatments with prescribed therapeutants or
Veterinary Feed Directives (VFDs), under the direction of the
Veterinary of Record (VOR). This position is expected to
collaborate with veterinarians and other Fish Health Pathologists
employed by WDFW, Washington Departments of Agriculture and Health,
with tribal co-managers, federal government (USDA-APHIS-VS, USFWS,
USGS, and NOAA), and with universities, and will maintain open
communication with appropriate federal, state, and tribal agencies
concerning public health, when necessary.
This position's assigned facilities are primarily in the south
Puget Sound area (WDFW Regions 4 and 6): Issaquah, Cedar River
(Seattle Public Utilities), Tokul Creek, Icy Creek Ponds, Soos
Creek, Chambers Creek, Garrison Springs, Lakewood, Puyallup,
Voights Creek, Coulter Creek Ponds, Hupp Spring, Minter Creek,
Palmer Ponds, and Tumwater Falls.
KEY DUTIES INCLUDE BUT ARE NOT LIMITED TO:
Clinical health monitoring.
Provides clinical support to assigned facilities in an effort to
protect humans and fish from zoonotic and non-zoonotic disease.
With funding, conduct research designed to improve the fish disease
diagnostic capacities especially for those with zoonotic potential.
Occasional screening and diagnosis of wild fish.
- Conducts zoonotic and non-zoonotic fish disease investigations
for hatchery or wild morbidity and mortality events at designated
hatcheries and watersheds within designated region.
- Recognize and detect non-zoonotic and potentially zoonotic fish
pathogens, including viral, bacterial, fungal, or parasitic
- Recognize environmental factors, including toxicants, or fish
culture practices that may cause or contribute to fish
- Collect the appropriate samples for detection, confirmation,
and prevalence testing, ensuring that sampling is consistent with
at least the Co-Managers Salmonid Disease Control Policy.
- Train hatchery staff to correctly obtain samples when this
position is unavailable. Directs hatchery staff to maintain
compliance with the Policy when carrying out their fish culture
- Ensure that for all stock samples are taken properly, and they
are packaged and labeled correctly for transport to the laboratory.
- Determines appropriate preventive or corrective actions needed
to mitigate fish morbidity or mortality, which may include
consultation with VOR, vaccination, or fish care procedural
- When working with VFDs and prescribed therapeutants, follow
directions from VOR and advise VOR as to effects of
- Prepares study plans and budgets and serves as the principal
investigator on health surveillance and works with federal and
- Communicate with hatchery staff and federal or tribal
co-managers when regulated or reportable pathogens, as defined by
the Policy, are detected and confirmed, and with appropriate state
and federal public health agencies, including, but not limited to
WSDA, WDOH, and USDA-APHIS, when known zoonotic pathogens are
detected and confirmed.
Fish Health support to the Fish Program.
Serves as an expert in the specialized field of fish diseases,
monitoring non-zoonotic and zoonotic fish pathogens and disease at
assigned facilities, identifying disease by determining when the
presence of fish pathogens is detrimental to a specific stock and
determines if non-prescribed treatment is warranted, and when the
presence of zoonotic fish pathogens may affect human health; when
necessary determines fish treatment or prevention plans.
- Implements agency policies, procedures, and protocols to ensure
the safe, humane, legal, and effective use of drugs/chemicals in
WDFW aquaculture facilities, under the supervision of the VOR.
- Work with supervisory VOR to make certain that microbial
resistance to the therapeutants is considered. This is
particularly important if the class of therapeutant used is also
used when treating human disease. When antimicrobial
resistance is detected, ensure that appropriate federal, state, and
tribal fish and public health agencies are notified.
- Under the direction of the VOR ensure the guidelines regarding
drug residue withdrawal periods (that specify the amount of drug
legally permitted in the edible tissue of fish), are effectively
communicated to hatchery staff who are responsible for compliance
to protect against premature release of tainted fish into public
- Monitor the use of INADs for assigned facilities and work with
the USFWS AADAP Program in conducting studies recognized by the FDA
to support approval of New Animal Drugs in fish.
Epidemiological research and monitoring.
Gross anatomical and molecular-based health research on fish in
Washington to evaluate health, disease, prevalence of zoonotic and
non-zoonotic fish pathogens, genetic effects (immunological gene
expression) associated with survival, and changes in environmental
and fish microbiomes as they relate to population health.
- Compiles, maintains, and analyzes fish health data and reports
and identifies causative agents or conditions resulting in adverse
fish health conditions.
- Proposes, plans, coordinates, and implements epidemiological
studies of morbidity and mortality in fish.
- Analyzes, interprets, and applies findings from disease
surveillance programs; formulates and justify conclusions and
recommendations based on current scientific principles.
- Provides expertise and response to concerns from the public,
WDFW staff, and other agencies on issues related to fish health or
the potential for zoonotic diseases associated with
- Work with WDFW Veterinarians and the Washington Department of
Health (Zoonotic Disease Epidemiologist and Public Health
Veterinarian) to develop and maintain a list of fish pathogens or
antimicrobial resistance that when discovered would be reported to
the Washington Department of Health.
- Give presentations to scientific community and to the
- Represents WDFW by attending at least one fish health or
aquaculture conference per year.
- Write scientific reports and submit for peer review and
publication if appropriate.
Other duties as assigned
Work Setting, including hazards:
- This is primarily (60-80%) field work (weather, trips, falls,
etc.) requiring site visits, travel to meetings, and workshops, and
forums throughout the State, driving (accidents) and secondarily
(20-40%) office work (ergonomics).
- Must be willing to work during inclement weather, in difficult
terrain, and with potentially diseased or dangerous
- Must be willing to safely handle potentially dangerous animal
- Will be required to safely handle contaminated sharps (needles,
darts, scalpel, blades) and other medical waste.
- Laboratory work may also be required, working with hazardous
chemicals and pathogens (Biosafety Level 2).
- Generally, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m. Monday - Friday with some evening
and weekend work possible.
- Work hours may extend beyond the core hours of 8 am - 5
pm, Monday through Friday, including evenings and
- Travel on a frequent basis to hatcheries or field
areas approximately 3-4 days per week, and will require
travel to meetings, site visits, and workshops and forums
throughout the State.
Tools and Equipment:
- Use a PC up to 75-100% of the office workday.
- Computers, cell phones, highway vehicles, hand tools,
centrifuges, autoclaves, microscope, laboratory testing mediums,
- Provide technical direction to internal and external program
and Agency professional staff involving complex or controversial
studies or projects.
- May have policy level negotiation, interaction, and discussion
with other Agencies at both the State and Federal level.
- Complete required administrative paperwork in an accurate and
- Responsible for legislative, contentious issue resolution and
leaders of major stakeholder interaction. Excellent personal
interaction and diplomatic skills.
- A valid unrestricted driver's license.
- First Aid Training
- Conduct surgical and other pathologist-related procedures.
- Conduct necropsies; collect, process, and submit appropriate
specimens; and interpret findings from fish and wildlife morbidity
and mortality investigations.
- Establish and maintain cooperative working relationships with
governmental and private organizations and groups concerned with
wildlife health issues.
- Effectively communicate in writing and orally on both technical
and non-technical levels.
- Develop and conduct training.
- Prepare work plans and budgets.
- May be required to euthanize animals using methods approved by
the American Veterinary Medical Association.
- Maintain field vehicle in good and clean working condition.
- Complete paperwork for paying bills; ordering supplies; and
packaging and shipping diagnostic specimens.
- A graduate degree from an accredited college in fish biology,
anatomy, health/pathology, or related fields and three years of
professional experience in fish health/pathology.
- Expertise in conducting necropsies and collecting diagnostic
samples in fish.
- Knowledge of fish pathogens that occur in the Pacific
Northwest, including those known to cause zoonotic disease.
- Experience working with:
- anadromous fish both in natural and aquaculture
- comprehensive understanding of pathogens including current
issues in fish health, including the identification, transmission,
prevention, clinical signs, and control of fish diseases and
parasites, including those important to public and wildlife
Knowledge of: modern epidemiologic principles and practices
including the symptoms, causes (common diseases faced by fish in
Washington, including the identification, transmission, prevention,
clinical signs, and control of such disease caused by pathogens and
environmental conditions), means of transmission and methods of
control of communicable, non-communicable, and chronic diseases;
basic medical terminology.
Ability to: apply laws and departmental rules and regulations to
problems of disease control; establish and maintain cooperative
working relationships with governmental, voluntary, and private
organizations, and groups concerned with public health services;
communicate clearly and concisely orally and in writing on both
technical and non-technical levels.
- Masters or Doctorate in fish health/pathology or related
- Experience preparing grant proposals and budgets.
- Experience prioritizing and making independent decisions on
- Experience with microbiology and pathophysiology.
- Experience with modern research procedures including
- Computers and programming in database management and
Please note: Failure to follow the instructions below may lead
In order to successfully apply for this position you MUST
complete your profile at www.careers.wa.gov and attach
the following to your profile before completing the online
- A cover letter describing how you meet the qualifications of
this position (Generic cover letter will not be accepted).
- A current resume
- Responses to all supplemental questions.
- Three professional references.
The Department of Fish and Wildlife's priority during the
Covid-19 health crisis is to keep our staff, candidates, and the
public safe. We are hiring and encourage you to apply to open
positions. Many of our staff are currently working from home;
we have transitioned to a virtual recruitment process, to include
JOIN THE WDFW TEAM:
Learn about our agency and the perks of
working for WDFW!
The Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife has some of the
most talented people in the natural resource field. We
celebrate and value diversity, appreciating that a workforce
composed of those from different backgrounds and experiences
creates an inclusive environment, strengthens positive
relationships with the local community, and brings new perspectives
and approaches to fulfilling the agency's mission. We value
demonstrated skill in living WDFW values of professionalism,
accountability, empathy, integrity, service, and respect.
WDFW employees may be eligible for the following:
Medical/Dental/Vision for employee & dependent(s), Public
Employees Retirement System (PERS), Vacation, Sick, and
other Leave, 11 Paid Holidays per year, Public Service Loan
Forgiveness, Tuition Waiver, Long Term Disability & Life
Insurance, Deferred Compensation Programs, Dependent Care
Assistance Program (DCAP), Flexible Spending Arrangement
(FSA), Employee Assistance Program, Commute Trip Reduction
Incentives (Download PDF reader), Combined Fund Drive,
This position is in the bargaining unit represented by the
Washington Association of Fish & Wildlife Professionals and is
subject to the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between
the State of Washington, Department of Fish & Wildlife, and the
Washington Association of Fish & Wildlife Professionals.
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Employer
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signed verification of service letter
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As part of WDFW's efforts to advance respectful and inclusive
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The Department of Fish and Wildlife is an equal opportunity
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includes and respects cultural, racial, ethnic, sexual orientation
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receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color,
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orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran
status and are encouraged to apply.
Persons needing accommodation in the application process
or this announcement in an alternative format may call (360)
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This recruitment is essential: Maintain animal husbandry,
hatchery operations for fish/animal welfare and associated
testing/vet response etc.
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