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State of Washington Classified Job Specification


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Class Code: 520F
Category: Science & Engineering


Performs a variety of entry-level technical and scientific fish culture duties, and maintenance of facilities in a fish hatchery.

Distinguishing Characteristics

This is an in-training class designed to provide guidance and professional experience. Upon successful completion of the fish culture training program positions will advance to the Fish Hatchery Specialist 2.

Typical Work

In a learning capacity under the direction of a higher-level position, performs the following:

Performs fish marking techniques for identification and recovery of species; identifies, sorts and process’s marked broodfish; compliles and records data for biological analysis;

Administers the correct dose of drugs and anesthetics to fish by injection or immersion, calibrates, cleans, and sterilizes inoculation equipment; calculates, applies, monitors, evaluates, and records therapeutant levels to control pathogens;

Collects biological samples of fish tissue and fluid samples for Fish Health Specialists and Aquatic Animal Health Veterinarians without contaminating samples;

Conducts fish trapping and spawning operations, including successful transport and placement of gametes, and setting up equipment.

Identifies and sorts for spawning individual adult fish according to species, gender, condition of maturity, or other defined characteristics; removes and collects eggs and sperm to ensure viable, uncontaminated gametes and genetic variability;

Identifies and removes weak or dead eggs, and shocks eggs; influences the rate of development of eggs and fry by temperature manipulation of water; applies thermal marks for otolith differentiation; sterilizes groups of eggs with heated water; acclimates eggs to new water source temperature regime;

Calculates daily feed requirements, feeding frequency, and delivery rates based on species, densities, fish size, temperature, flows, turbidity, dissolved oxygen levels, and fish health and desired growth rates;

Monitors fish behavior and records mortalities, examines mortalities for clinical signs of fish pathogens, monitors water quality and rearing environments, and notifies supervisor and fish health specialist when abnormalities occur;

Collects, monitors, and records weather and water quality parameters which include temperatures, flow, turbidity, dissolved oxygen/total gas, pH, total suspended solids (TSS), and settleable solids (SS); monitors, adjusts, and maintains water treatment systems;

Liberates various sizes and species of fish to the waters of the state, using airplane, backpack, barge, horseback, truck, forced release, and volitional release methods; operates vehicles equipped with fish tanks of various sizes in compliance with state and federal laws; maintains a valid Commercial Driver’s License, as needed;

Makes scheduled and emergency repairs to structures such as buildings, docks, rearing vessels, and net pens; operates, monitors, maintains, and repairs mechanical or electrical systems for chemical delivery, domestic and hatchery water supplies, power and lights, feed delivery, filters and hatchery intakes, sewage, and ventilation; operates, inspects, adjusts, maintains, and repairs pumps and pump motors, gas and diesel generators, small engines, fork lifts, compressors, crowders, hydraulic and pneumatic equipment, and heating systems;

Designs and fabricates needed hatchery equipment such as fish racks, weirs, intakes screens, fish transfer equipment, adult fish gates, etc. using metal, aluminum, plastic and wood.

Operates, monitors, and responds to all alarms that provide security and protection;

Wears and uses employee safety equipment as directed; inspects, cleans, and repairs employee safety equipment; tests employee safety equipment and records respirator cartridge use and results of respirator tests;

Collects, compiles, and stores data on a variety of activities pertaining to fish rearing;

Performs the work of Fish Hatchery Technician;

Performs other duties as required.

Knowledge and Abilities

Knowledge of:  fish species and gender identification, fish culture methods and techniques, basic biological principles, hydrology, fish ecology, river ecosystem, spawning protocols, math, scientific terminology and techniques, mechanical equipment repair; methods, equipment, and supplies used in maintenance of hatchery structures and grounds.

Ability to:  successfully complete agency supervised training program, work out of doors in all weather conditions, perform strenuous physical activities, perform basic mechanical tasks using power and hand tools, follow instructions and complete assigned tasks, gather and compile data, use sound judgment.

Legal Requirement(s)

Some positions may require a valid driver’s license, and/or a Class A or Class B Commercial Driver’s License.

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

Associate degree in fisheries technology, biology or closely allied field.


Three years of education towards a Bachelor’s degree in fisheries, biology or closely allied field.


Successful completion of a fish culture program from a vocational school.


Three years of experience performing a variety of fish culture duties in a hatchery will substitute for the required education.

NOTE: Employees shall be advanced to Fish Hatchery Specialist 2 after successful completion of a 12-month in-training plan, which includes on-the-job and classroom training. If the employee completes all of the components of the training plan early, they may be advanced to the Fish Hatchery Specialist 2 level early, but not less than six-months.

Class Specification History

New class consolidates (formerly  92592 Fish Hatchery Specialist 1;   4760 Fish Hatchery Technician II ) Adopted May 11, 2007  Effective July 1 2007.
Revised definition, distinguishing characteristics, typical work, knowledge and abilities, and desirable qualifications, adopted June 13, 2019, effective July 1, 2019.