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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 520H
Category: Science & Engineering


Performs senior level professional technical and scientific fish culture duties and performs hatchery related maintenance.

Distinguishing Characteristics

Positions at this level coordinate with federal, state, tribal and local agencies and entities; and act as the agency liaison and project manager for contract fish marking crews.

Under general direction, performs a variety of senior hatchery specialist work such as:

  • Assists in the design of, and independently implements on-site research activities such as proposing, conducting, and reporting the results of fish feeding experiments; coordinating temperature regime experiments; consulting with a Fish Health Specialists/Aquatic Animal Health Veterinarians to design and implement the protocols for drug treatments; coordinating the Complex’s participation in joint projects with tribes, PUDs, federal agencies, cooperatives, other state agencies, etc.; training lower level staff in research procedures and protocols.
  • Plans and coordinates rearing densities, intra-and inter-facility transfers of fish, and releases to meet short-and long-range program goals.
  • Collects genetic samples (Opercula punches, Dorsal Ray samples) for genetic population analysis.
  • Prepares for own or Manager’s signature legally mandated documents such as Investigative New Animal Drug reports (FDA), National Pollution Discharge Elimination System reports (DOE/EPA), and contract compliance evaluations for regulatory and outside funding agencies.
  • Determines which mature male and female Natural Origin Brood (salmon and steelhead) are needed to spawn to ensure minimum integration rates are achieved into the hatchery populations.
  • On an on-going basis, monitors, evaluates, and adjusts equipment such as ultraviolet and ozone water purification systems, chillers, and electronic monitoring devices; identifies and documents needed maintenance; informs the Complex Manager or supervisor of needed major repairs and maintenance.
  • Evaluates fish size, growth rate, and health to determine feeding requirements; recommends the diet needed to achieve program goals.

Incumbents frequently lead others on a task-oriented basis.

Typical Work

As a lead worker, directs the marking of fish for identification and recovery to ensure adherence to quality control procedures, including fin clipping, eye tags, coded wire tags/adipose, freeze branding, temperature marking, and chemical marking; evaluates methods used to identify and recover marks and suggests improvements;

Maintains the broodstock replacement program for a species or stock; follows Endangered Species Act (ESA) processes and policies to meet the requirements for any endangered species listed;

Inventories and grades carcasses for quality; records data; coordinates disposition of carcasses to buyers; donates carcasses fit for human consumption to approved charitable organizations; transports unfit carcasses to disposal site on or off station;

Leads a spawning crew to remove and collect eggs and sperm to ensure viable, uncontaminated gametes and genetic variability; combines eggs and sperm; packages and transports eggs and sperm in specialized containers;

Designs and constructs predator hazing and control programs, and isolation/segregation equipment and facilities; works with research and development staff to improve incubation techniques; collects and transmits information; implements modifications;

Proposes feed experiments to evaluate fish health and behavior, nutritional values, cost factors, and conversion and growth rates; monitors, evaluates, and documents results; reports conclusions and recommendations to supervisor and Fish Health Specialists/Aquatic Animal Health Veterinarians;

Plans and coordinates on-station transfers of fish; determines the size and number of fish per rearing vessel; grades the fish by size using mechanical and manual equipment (box); enumerates the fish; transfers by trucks, pipes, live boxes, and nets to rearing units; keeps inventory records of all rearing units by size and weight;

Inspects, adjusts, maintains, and repairs pumps and pump motors, gas and diesel generators, small engines, fork lifts, compressors, hydraulic and pneumatic equipment, crowders, and heating systems; monitors manufacturer’s recommendations and specifications or predetermined maintenance schedule for compliance;

Provides input for development of operations and capital budgets; records expenditures; projects short- and long-term expenditures;

Assists in planning and designing hatchery rebuilds, modifications, redesign or capital project, and minor work performed at the hatchery;

Assists in interviewing and makes recommendations for hiring temporary and permanent hatchery staff;

Orders equipment, materials, supplies, and services according to agency and state policies; evaluates product quality and accepts or rejects products upon delivery; initiates order payment form after invoice is received;

Develops and conducts training on using, maintaining, and repairing facility equipment, vehicles, buildings, and grounds; develops and conducts training on spawning, incubating, and fish rearing;

Performs other work as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of: fish species, gender, and disease signs; fish culture methods and techniques; river ecosystem and the biology associated with fish species and spawning protocols; math and descriptive statistics; scientific terminology and techniques; mechanical equipment repair; methods, equipment, and supplies used in maintenance of hatchery structures and grounds.

Ability to: assist in training employees, work out of doors in all weather conditions, perform strenuous physical activities, perform mechanical tasks using power and hand tools, follow instructions and complete assigned tasks, gather and compile data and complete reports, use sound judgment, supervise/lead work crews, work under minimal supervision, communicate well orally and in writing, maintain effective working relationships internally and externally.

Legal Requirement(s)

There may be instances where individual positions must have additional licenses or certification. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure the appropriate licenses/certifications are obtained for each position.

Desirable Qualifications

One year of experience as a Fish Hatchery Specialist 2.


Associate’s degree in fisheries technology, biology or closely allied field and two years of experience performing fish culture duties in a hatchery.


Bachelor’s degree in fisheries, biology or closely allied field and two years of experience performing fish culture duties in a hatchery.


Successful completion of a fish culture program from a vocational school and two years of experience performing fish culture duties in a hatchery.

Four years of experience performing a variety of fish culture duties in a hatchery will substitute for the Bachelor’s degree.

NOTE:  A valid driver’s license is required.  Some positions require a valid Class A or Class B Commercial Driver’s License.

NOTE:  Some positions require a valid Washington State Pesticide Applicator’s License.

Class Specification History

New class:  7/14/95 (effective 9/1/95)
Revised new class code:  (formerly   92594) effective July 1, 2007.
Revised definition, distinguishing characteristics, typical work, knowledge and abilities, and desirable qualifications, adopted June 13, 2019, effective July 1, 2019.