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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Finfish Health in the United States (1609-1969): Historical Perspective, Pioneering Researchers and Fish Health Workers, and Annotated Bibliography.

Author
item Mitchell, Andrew

Submitted to: Aquaculture
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: December 20, 1999
Publication Date: May 15, 2001
Citation: MITCHELL, A.J. FINFISH HEALTH IN THE UNITED STATES (1609-1969): HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE, PIONEERING RESEARCHERS AND FISH HEALTH WORKERS, AND ANNOTATED BIBLIOGRAPHY.. AQUACULTURE. 2001. v.196. p.347-438.

Interpretive Summary: The importance of fish health studies prior to the 1970s is largely ignored by U.S. fish health investigators. This is because todays literature searches rarely obtain research information prior to 1970. The absence of this earlier literature can result in the duplication of research efforts and missing data that could change the course of a scientific investigation. This is particularly true for studies in fish parasitology. Much of the descriptive literature done between 1900 and 1950 is still valid today and may be the only work available for reference. Without access to this literature base, shortcomings in understanding the parasite and host are likely and duplication of research is almost a certainty. Older date is also important to understanding disease origin and disease etiology. Information on diseased fish from the geographic region now called the U.S. was first recorded in about 1609. In the 19th century I found more than 250 pieces of literature on the diseases and parasites of fish written by U.S. investigators. This paper gives the subject matter, the author, and the date of all literature found prior to 1900 and subject matter and dates of a number of selected authors from fish health specialists starting their careers between 1900 to 1970. The paper also contains much anecdotal information of interest to the reader.

Technical Abstract: John Smith described the first fish kill in a geographic area that would later become part of the United States in about 1609. Little more was recorded until 1802 when Benjamin Latrobe described a crustacean attached to the mouth of a menhaden. From 1802 to 1899, 114 investigators wrote 258 papers on parasites, and diseases of fish. Joseph Leidy was the most productive worker in this period producing 23 publications on the parasites and diseases of fish. There were 46 reports found of fish kills from salt and fresh water including a massive kill of tile fish of the coasts of New Jersey, Maryland and Delaware. Many early hatchery reports with detailed disease descriptions and early treatments are also give. After 1899 only the more prominent fish health specialists, as determined by publication records, have been highlighted. One-hundred and twenty- eight fish parasitologists and fish health researchers who began their careers from 1900 to 1969 are discussed. This paper documents the development of fish health studies in the U.S. It serves as a historical document but more importantly as a resource of older works important to todays scientific studies.

Last Modified: 12/21/2014
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