Charles E. Jackson, 78, an expert in fisheries who held high level posts in government and private industry for many years, died Friday of arteriosclerosis at the Potomac Valley Nursing Home in Rockville.

Mr. Jackson served from 1940 to 1945 as assistant director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. From 1939 to 1940 he was acting commissioner of fisheries and from 1933 to 1939 was deputy commissioner in the Bureau of Fisheries.

In addition, he represented the United States on the International Pacific Salmon Fisheries Commission from 1937 to 1946, and on the International Fisheries Commission, which was concerned with halibut, from 1940 to 1946.

In 1945, he was named general manager of the National Fisheries Institute, Inc., here and remained there until 1962 when he opened an office as a consultant.

Mr. Jackson, a native of Columbia, S.C. was also active in Democratic politics. From 1922 to 1933 he was secretary to Sen. E. D. Smith of South Carolina, and helped manage two successful election campaigns for the senator.

He served as clerk for two Senate committees and was clerk of the platform and resolutions committee at the 1928 and 1932 Democratic National Conventions. He was chief clerk of all convention committees in 1936 and was tally clerk in 1956.

In addition he was an adviser to many international conferences at food, agriculture and the sea.

Survivors include four children, Charles E. Jr., of Wheaton, Harold O. of Chevy Chase, Patricia Ann Fegan, of Annapolis, and Martha Cecile Singleton, of Alexandria.

The family requests that expressions of sympathy be in the form of donations to the Schizophrenic Association of Greater Washington, 407 Wheaton Plaza Office Building, Wheaton, 20902.