150 Fishes to Celebrate 150 Years

This list is still in progress and being added to weekly. Check back again soon!

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 Infamous and Imperiled Delta Smelt
Common Name of FishDelta Smelt
Scientific Name of FishHypomesus transpacificus
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditDelta Smelt - https://www.biologicaldiversity.org/species/fish/Delta_smelt/
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

Delta Smelt are an imperiled fish species endemic to the upper San Francisco Estuary in northern California. Human-induced habitat changes have driven their decline over the last three decades. Currently, Delta Smelt numbers are perilously low. Delta Smelt have become the poster child of the water wars of California. Export of water from the San Francisco Estuary for agriculture and the Southern California drinking water supply is one of the drivers of Delta Smelt declines.

Delta Smelt are a small bodied annual species that is considered semi-anadromous. Delta Smelt spawn in freshwater during late winter/spring. Juveniles generally rear in the low-salinity zone in summer and fall. The loss of suitable habitat for Delta Smelt to complete their annual life cycle is considered one leading cause of population declines, along with increased water export from the system, impaired water quality, and competition with and predation by introduced species.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://water.ca.gov/LegacyFiles/iep/docs/pod/sommers_fish.pdf
Your NameCatherine Johnston