150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

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150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

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 solicited 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

Fish nominations are now closed.

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.


Catchy TitleThe "dicky fish" that called attention to nongame-fish management
Common Name of FishSnail darter
Scientific Name of FishPercina tanasi
Image of FishSnail-darter-Wikipedia.docx
Image Caption and CreditSnail darter, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snail_darter
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

This federally listed, endemic percid required Endangered Species Act (ESA) consultations and caused great controversy re: dam/reservoir development. A "God Squad" was assembled for this ESA decision, but ultimately a powerful politician allowed dam building, despite the tailwater being critical habitat for this forage fish. Fortunately, it didn't go extinct via transplantation or natural presence in nearby watersheds, but the dam/reservoir system was a boondoggle that never achieved its goal to create trophy-trout water. Rather, it became a muddy, carp-infested impoundment. Although some laypeople believed the ESA to be flawed given this controversy, I contend that it well illustrates Aldo Leopold's call to protect all "cogs in the wheel" to save ecosystems. Fortunately, boondoggle-dam projects became harder to build in the USA since then, and dam breaching is becoming more common as reservoirs sediment up, lose productivity, and reduce migratory-fish populations to imperiled levels.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snail_darter
Your NameRobert Vadas, Jr.