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 TitleCalifornia Sheephead: Striking Coloration with a Toothy Smile!
Common Name of FishCalifornia Sheephead
Scientific Name of FishSemicossyphus pulcher
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and Creditwikimedia commons
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

The California Sheephead male sports a striking broad red band in the center of its black body, with the female demonstrating completely pink/red coloration. This large wrasse can reach lengths of up to 3 ft., weighing in at 36 lbs. Both sexes have the same formidable dentistry, which are easily able to crush sea urchins and inflict nasty bites on divers. A unique feature of this fish is its transition from female to male in response to life history and environmental pressures. This change is a common trait among wrasses, ensuring reproduction in a population. It is a popular sport fish in its native range along the Pacific Coast of California, which has resulted in diminished populations due to over-harvesting. This stunning fish is a charismatic and unique species and is irreplaceable in western North American fisheries.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://www.montereybayaquarium.org/animals-and-exhibits/animal-guide/fishes/california-sheephead
Your NameMatthew Murphy