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 Philosopher Fish
Common Name of FishLake Sturgeon
Scientific Name of FishAcipenser fulvescens
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditLake Sturgeon - Taken from at the Niagara Falls Aquarium - Photo by Gary Whelan
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

There are very few fish that capture the attention of the public in over 1/2 of the U.S. and a large amount of Canada like the Lake Sturgeon. The fish that is often characterized as being a living dinosaur has all of the charismatic megafuana attributes including: being the largest fish in most of its broad geographic range; living longer than humans; having a unique look that is considered cool by the public; and having a unique life cycle with a maturity cycle similar to humans. While badly depressed in population size by overharvest, habitat loss and spawning tributary damming, and wholesale landscape alteration by 1910, it is a fish that is capable of out-living human greed, along with society's stupidity, and is making a comeback, particularly in the Great Lakes. It is a fish fully worthy of being in this select group.