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 TitleAmerican Paddlefish - Best Fish Ever? ... Prove me wrong.
Common Name of FishAmerican Paddlefish, Spoonbill, Teaspoon (really small ones)
Scientific Name of FishPolyodon spathula
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditAdam Cole and son Zaniel pose with a +100lb Paddlefish that Zaniel snagged from the Arkansas River in Oklahoma. Credit: Adam Cole.
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

If ever there was a fish worthy of recognition, the American Paddlefish is it.

The Spoonbill practically has super powers:
Find prey in complete darkness by sensing tiny electrical currents? - YES
Migrate 1000's of miles upstream to spawn? - YES
Detect & avoid metal objects? - YES
Coevolved with a cnidarian endoparasite that infects their eggs? (A freshwater jellyfish!) - YES
Skin has natural sunscreen derivatives to protect from UV rays? - YES
Ram filter-feeding mechanism that forms tiny vortices to selectively capture prey and remain clog-free? - YES
Same filter is a model for development of clog-free industrial filters like those used in beer brewing? - YES
Thick layer of epidermis loaded with white blood cells which give them super-healing capabilities? - YES
Roe valued as a high-priced delicacy on par with the rarest of caviar? - YES
Skeleton studied by the US Military as a model for lightweight vehicle & body armor? - YES
Huge? - YES

Best fish ever. Indisputable.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://fisheries.org/bookstore/all-titles/afs-symposia/54088c/
Your NameJason D. Schooley