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 TitlePygmy Whitefish: Living under the radar below the depths
Common Name of FishPygmy Whitefish
Scientific Name of FishProsopium coulterii
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditPhoto by Randy Zemlak
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

In many lakes within upper North American, a unique little species of fish has adapted to occupy a niche, and is rarely seen by humans. The Pygmy Whitefish is the smallest of the species within the group known as whitefishes, and is typically found deep within cold clear lakes where it flies below the radar being an opportunistic feeder on benthic invertebrates and zooplankton. Despite it's small size, this fish can pack a big punch. Being found in the pelagic zones of lakes, these little guys can be an important food source for large fish eating species such as Lake Trout, Rainbow Trout, and Bull Trout. Relying heavily on cold water, this species my be prone to the effects of global warming, and although very hard to sample and track abundance, there has been a noted decline in abundance in the Great Lakes.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://www.canada.ca/en/environment-climate-change/services/species-risk-public-registry/cosewic-assessments-status-reports/pygmy-whitefish-2016.html
Your NameJames Baxter