150 Fish


150 Fish


150 Fish


150 Fish


150 Fish


150 Fish


150 Fish


150 Fish


150 Fish


150 Fish


150 Fish

150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

Please Nominate Your Favorite Fish

In 2020, the American Fisheries Society will celebrate its 150th Anniversary. As part of the celebration, the Society will be calling attention to 150 fishes. We are soliciting nominations of fishes for the list by the Society’s membership.

The 150 Fishes list is a celebration of the biodiversity of freshwater and marine fishes of North America. These fishes will help tell the story of fish and fisheries of the continent. They may illustrate unique life histories, beauty, conservation issues, and challenges of managing and conserving these animals and their habitats.  These fishes represent our native biodiversity, but also illustrates how invasives and our own human nature have had impacts on our aquatic resources. Hence, this list will primarily focus on native species but may include non-natives when they tell a compelling fisheries story. From the stories of these fishes, the Society and the public can learn to better appreciate these amazing natural resources and be challenged to ensure that future generations will be able to experience these fishes in their native settings.

Nomination Process

To nominate a fish, see the form below.

In the first box, please type the common name of the fish species you wish to nominate. In the second box, type an eye-catching title (limit 80 characters including spaces). In the third box, please provide a brief (1000 characters including spaces or less) story justifying inclusion of your fish nominee. In the fourth box, provide one or two links (i.e., URLs) to more information on your fish nominee. If possible, upload an un-copyrighted photo of your fish nominee together with an image caption and credit. In the next boxes provide your first and last names. Finally, include your email in case we need to reach you. Nominations have been extended until December 31, 2019.

Selection Process

A 10-person committee comprised of celebration committee members and members at large will make the selections. Only completed nominations will be considered. Selections will be based on the compelling nature of the justification for inclusion, the quality of the story, appeal to the membership and the public, and significance of the fish to fisheries and natural resources conservation and management in North America. Multiple nominations of the same species could require combining justification stories. In this case, all nominators that contributed material used will be acknowledged. The decision of the committee is final.

The committee will be tasked with fact-checking and proofing the justification stories. Each committee member will be responsible editing the justification stories for 15 fishes from the list.

Circulation Process

The 150 Fishes list will reside at the 150th Anniversary Website, information about individual fish from the list will be circulated through various social media platforms throughout the year.

This list is meant to be a fun for members and informative for the public. It is unlikely we will be able to include all nominations. We acknowledge that every fish has a story. There may be opportunities to discuss all the nominated fishes in the future.


150 Fish Nomination Form

  • Please write this in a style appropriate for the general public.
  • Drop files here or
    Only upload images if you own the copyright, you have permission of the copyright holder, or the image is in the public domain.



Catchy TitleAmerican shad: a historic past but an uncertain future
Common Name of FishAmerican shad
Scientific Name of FishAlosa sapidissima
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditAmerican shad Alosa sapidissima from the Roanoke River at Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina in 2007. Hightower et al. (2012; Journal of Fish and Wildlife Management: Vol. 3, No. 2, pp. 184-198. https://doi.org/10.3996/082011-JFWM-047)
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

The American shad was one of the first species to be fished commercially in North Carolina. Fishing operations using large nets employed many people, and the salt-preserved fish were shipped to northern markets and overseas. These fisheries began in the mid- to late 1800s, or about the same time as the American Fisheries Society.

Unfortunately for American shad, its trajectory since that time has been downward. Adult American shad migrate from the ocean into coastal rivers to spawn. The loss of spawning habitat due to dam construction and overfishing have resulted in dramatic declines, and the species is currently at an all-time low.

Is there hope for American shad? Fish ladders and removals of derelict dams have reopened some upstream habitat, resulting in population rebuilding in some systems. A full recovery will take time and persistence, but is worth it for a species prized by anglers and named Alosa sapidissima meaning “most delicious”.

Website or Journal Article for More InformationAtlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission: http://www.asmfc.org/species/shad-river-herring
Your NameJoseph Hightower