PULLMAN, Wash. — John E. Halver, one of the world’s leading authorities on fish nutrition, received Washington State University’s Alumni Achievement Award today (Friday, Oct. 3) at the annual WSU Foundation Awards Luncheon in the Compton Union Building ballroom.


He earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1944, and a master’s degree in organic chemistry in 1948, from WSU.


For nearly five decades, the University of Washington professor emeritus in the School of Fisheries has conducted research on the nutritional requirements of fish for vitamins, amino acids, essential fatty acids and sources of carbohydrates.


In nominating Halver for the award, R. James Cook, a USDA scientist and the endowed chair in wheat research at WSU, wrote: “His [Halver’s] research revealed the 10 indispensable amino acids for fish, identified 12 classes of chemical compounds with potential as carcinogens in fish, and demonstrated that aflatoxin B1 present in some sources of feed is a primary carcinogen for trout hepatoma.”

For his scientific accomplishments, Halver was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1978. 

The Seattle resident spent most of his professional career in the Pacific Northwest as an employee of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Seattle.  He joined the USFWS in 1950 as a researcher in the Western Fish Nutrition Laboratory. While in this assignment, he completed a doctorate in medical biochemistry at the UW in 1953, and worked with the Salmon Nutrition Laboratory at Cook (Wash.) before becoming director and senior scientist of nutrition at the WSNL. In 1978, he became a full-time professor of nutrition at the UW.

During his career, he has traveled to some 40 countries to present lectures and help establish international fisheries research and development programs. In addition, he founded the Halver Corp., an ecosystems management consulting firm on development and management of polycultures that integrate fish with ducks and other animal and plant life.

Halver was awarded a Purple Heart, Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster and Croix d’Valeur for military service during World War II.