Last modified: Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fisheries Experiment Station

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Fish health

The Fish Health division (a.k.a. Technical Services) plays an active extension role in both fish health issues for state culture facilities and wild fish in Utah. The program includes a full-service fish pathology program including virology, bacteriology, parasitology and histopathology capabilities.

  • Inspection services are provided to ensure state hatcheries and wild broodstock sources are specific pathogen free and meet the requirements of the Fish Health Policy Board for legal transport of fish/fish eggs within the state of Utah. All samples collected in this process are tested at the Fisheries Experiment Station laboratories. Those facilities which are pathogen free according to rules set forth by the Fish Health Board are given fish health approval. Current fish health approval list
  • The fish disease diagnostic service identifies specific fish disease problems in state hatcheries, institutional aquaculture and wild fish and provides help in the management and treatment of such problems.
  • Ongoing surveys help track the unfortunate presence of the whirling disease parasite and other pathogens across the state and help document their impact of wild fish.


Wade Cavender

Wade Cavender is the Fish Health Specialist and team leader for Technical Services department at FES. He is a native of Ohio and earned his AS in Fish and Wildlife Management at Hocking College and his BS in aquaculture at the University of Idaho. His Masters degree is also from the University of Idaho where he conducted research on the development of quantitative polymerase chain reaction methods to detect the parasite that causes whirling disease. He also studied the parasites distribution within the Snake, Salmon and Clearwater Rivers of Idaho. Following Wade's graduate work, he was employed as the fish health specialist with Arizona Game and Fish were he maintained a fish disease/pathology laboratory to provide investigative capabilities and solutions for stateside disease issues in managed waters. Wade is an avid hunter and fisherman who has expressed great interest in exploring Utah's outdoor opportunities.

Contact Wade by e-mail. Phone (435) 752-1066, ext 211

Anna Forest

Anna Forest is a native of New Mexico and earned her BS degree in Marine Biology and MS degree in Wildlife and Fisheries Sciences at Texas A&M University. She studied marine mammals in college and examined the effects of tourist activities on dolphin behavior for her masters degree. She has also worked for the National Marine Fisheries Service and monitored the demolition and removal of offshore structures with explosives and observed the impacts of the removals on wildlife. After promising not to fish with explosives, Anna pledged to use her expertise to monitor fish health in Utah.

Contact Anna by e-mail. Phone (435) 752-1066 extension 213.

Cristi Swan

Cristi Swan earned both her B.S. and M.S. degrees from the University of Idaho in Fisheries Resources. Her master's work focused on the identification of a localized mucosal immune response in rainbow trout and purification of IgM and other proteins from serum and mucus of rainbow trout. Prior to her studies in Idaho, Cristi attended Green River Community College and earned A.S. degrees in Water Quality, Park Management and Forestry. A native of Montana, Cristi has also lived in Idaho and Washington and looks forward to getting to know Utah's people, history and landscape.

Cristi's main duties will be the management of bacteriology services and she will use her considerable experience in the ongoing development of a vaccine against coldwater disease in our state hatchery system.

Contact Cristi by e-mail. Phone (435) 752-1066 ext. 213.

David Thompson

Chris Heck is a microbiologist with over 15 years of experience performing laboratory research. He has a Bachelors degree in Soil Science and Microbiology from the University of Minnesota and a Masters degree from Western State College in Gunnison Colorado where he conducted research on the purification and characterization of isoenzymes involved in plant development. Chris is a long-time Logan resident who has gained much of his resume experience working at Utah State University. Chris's extensive experience in microbiological and molecular biological lab techniques, along with his practical experience with laboratory equipment, is a valuable asset in the growing fish health program at FES. Outside his studies, Chris has a passion for back-country skiing, rock climbing and road biking.

Contact Chris by e-mail. Phone (435) 752-1066 extension 205.

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