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 TitleRoachback, Liner or Smallmouth Buffalo: a fish by any name tastes just as great!
Common Name of FishSmallmouth Buffalo
Scientific Name of FishIctiobus bubalus
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditSmallmouth Buffalo (Ictiobus bubalus) from the Illinois River, Havana, IL. Photo by Kristopher Maxson.
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

Smallmouth Buffalo and their sister species (Bigmouth and Black Buffalo) form the backbone of a commercial fishery on the Mississippi River basin dating back to the 1800s. Prior to 1900 and the increasing abundance of Common Carp, they made up 50% of the commercial catch and presently comprise 30% of a nearly $4 million fishery in the Upper Mississippi River. While abundance has declined following dam and levee construction and introductions of invasive species, they are still abundant in the Mississippi River system. Often considered rough fish by rod and reel anglers, these large-bodied fish (up to 40+ lbs) are increasingly targeted by the growing popularity of bowfishing around the county. Relatively understudied compared to popular sportfish like Largemouth Bass and trout, most studies are 50+ years old with little work done on large rivers. Recent research on the Upper Mississippi River System suggests this species may be much longer-lived (30+ years) than previously thought.

Website or Journal Article for More InformationSeth A. Love, Sara J. Tripp, and Quinton E. Phelps "Age and Growth of Middle Mississippi River Smallmouth Buffalo," The American Midland Naturalist 182(1), 118-123, (10 July 2019).
Your NameKristopher Maxson