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 TitleNessie of the American West
Common Name of FishBonytail chub
Scientific Name of FishGila elegans
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditUntagged adult bonytail (453 mm and 650 g) captured by USFWS near Moab, UT. Photo Credit: T. Walton/USFWS.
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

It may be difficult at first to see the similarities between the Bonytail Chub and Nessie of Scottish lore; however, both the rarest of the Colorado River basin endemic fish and the mythical creature of Loch Ness are large, notoriously difficult to find, and feature a telltale hump. The Bonytail Chub has a streamlined body featuring a smooth hump behind its head and a pencil-thin ‘tail’, growing up to 22 inches and living up to 50 years old. Once abundant and widespread throughout the basin, the Bonytail is among North America’s most endangered fish species and has been protected under the Endangered Species Act since 1980. Partnership programs such as the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program are working toward the recovery of this endangered species, with stocking and monitoring programs helping to demystify the species’ life history needs. With increased sightings via PIT-tag encounters over the years, we can confirm that this one ancient creature does indeed exist.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttp://www.coloradoriverrecovery.org/
Your NameCheyenne Owens