Fish disease/Parasite/Tissue Sample Collection

Volume 1, Issue 3
December 1999
Updated November 2002

The collection of quality samples greatly enhances the Fish Health Laboratory’s ability to provide quick, thorough, and accurate diagnostic results.

Live Fish Collection: Fish captured live for laboratory species identification or suspect of carrying a bacterial, viral or fungal disease should be packed in a cooler with wet ice. Kept on ice, fish can be transported over the next 12-36 hours to the lab without appreciable deterioration of the sample(s).

Parasitized Fish Collection: Fish captured live with internal or external parasites for laboratory species identification should be either put in a sealed plastic bag and then packed on ice or the parasite should be placed in 10% buffered formalin (available at the lab).

Frozen Samples: If you are forced to freeze a sample or receive a frozen sample from someone, please keep it frozen until it reaches the lab.

Data/History Collection: Accurate information is as important as good quality samples in diagnosis of fish pathology. The area to the right can be used for data collection. The back side of this form can also be used for additional information.

Sample Size: Statistical samples for American Fisheries Society, or Maine IF&W hatchery disease screening should be 30, 60 or more fish. The lab can give you a more exact number depending upon the service(s) requested.

live fish samples

Necropsy reports, fish kills, species identification, etc. require much smaller sample sizes generally.


A Fish Health Inspection Report prior to intrastate transfer of live fish requires 14 days to process.

Keep already frozen samples frozen until they reach the lab.

Call ahead. (287-2813)

Some fish diseases are zoonootic. Use proper safety precautions.

Field Data Collection

Fish Species: Date:_____________________________________________________

Captured at: When:____________________________________________________

How many: _________________________________________________________





Diagnostic Results Requested:__________________________________________



Return information to:_________________________________________________


Address: ___________________________________________________________

Telephone:__________________________ Fax:____________________________