Program enhances fishery conservation

Mohamed Faisal

Jan. 9, 2012

In a major contribution to fishery conservation, Michigan State University is establishing an endowed scholar program to ensure healthy environments for fish and aquatic resources.

The Stanislaus F. Snieszko Endowed Scholar Program in Aquatic Animal Medicine, named for a world-renowned fish health scientist, will be a catalyst to bridge science with policy and provide leadership to public and private organizations to conserve the nation’s wildlife, aquatic animals and related natural resources.

This program will be housed in MSU AgBioResearch (formerly known as Michigan Agricultural Experimental Station). Mohamed Faisal was chosen to direct this program and be the first S.F. Snieszko Scholar. He is a professor of pathobiology in MSU’s College of Veterinary Medicine and a professor of fisheries and wildlife in MSU’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources. Faisal will work in tandem with MSU’s Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability.

“It is important that we always remember the need to achieve healthy aquatic ecosystems and we should not forget that the health of aquatic animals is integral to achieving this goal in the Laurentian Great Lakes,” said Steve Pueppke, associate vice president for research and graduate studies. “We are delighted that this investment is being made in Michigan, a state surrounded by the Great Lakes that we want to keep healthy and productive.” 

This program will support MSU graduate and undergraduate students, faculty, natural resource managers, policy makers and allied constituents to develop knowledge, tools and methods required to understand and better manage the health of aquatic resources.

Faisal is a world-renowned aquatic veterinarian, whose research has advanced the knowledge in the
fields of diseases of aquatic organisms and environmental pollution. His research has generated novel information on disease causation and processes, molecular and serological diagnostic assays, new medication, and was instrumental in the development of disease control management strategies regionally, nationally, and internationally. Throughout a career that has extended nearly 40 years, Faisal has collaborated with more than 45 universities in the United States, Canada, South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. He is editor of a number of reputable scientific periodicals, the president-elect of the World Aquatic Veterinary Medical Association, director and lead scientist of the Living Oceans Foundation, and a member of the International Steering Committee of Marine Pollution. He also consults with the United Nations for marine pollution matters and has developed and participated in several study abroad programs.

The Snieszko program will be aligned with MSU’s Executive in Residence program as well as the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and the university’s Partnership for Ecosystem Research and Management Program and related industries and non-governmental organizations.

Snieszko, an émigré from Poland, was the founder and director of the Fish Health Laboratory (formerly known as the Eastern Fish Disease Laboratory) in Kearneysville, W. Va., where over several decades he hired some of the world’s most influential fish health scientists.

His work transformed the course of fish health in the United States such that the predominant, parasitological view of fish diseases that began in the early nineteenth century, and was held through the mid-1940s, was permanently shifted to encompass other causes and environmental factors.

According to William Taylor, University Distinguished Professor of Global Fisheries Systems at Michigan State University: “Dr. Faisal has a long and distinguished career improving our understanding of the health and productivity of our aquatic ecosystems and their allied biological communities in Michigan, the Great Lakes Basin and the world.”  

The Center for Systems Integration and Sustainability works in the innovative new field of coupled human and natural systems to find sustainable solutions that both benefit the environment and enable people to thrive.  


Sue Nichols