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 TitleCalifornia's original surfers party on the beach
Common Name of FishCalifornia Grunion
Scientific Name of FishLeluresthes tenuis
Image Caption and CreditCalifornia Grunion on the Beach, Photos by William Hootkins
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

This unassuming little silverside has a wild side. In the middle of the night, on the highest tides of spring and summer, thousands of fish turn their attention to the waves. They ride in on the surf and emerge from the water to dance on the shore, in a spectacular mating assemblage that occurs nowhere except the sandy beaches of California and Baja California. Eggs incubate buried under the sand, fully out of water while unsuspecting beach-goers frolic above. Embryos mature in about 10 days, then wait for an environmental cue to hatch. Swept back into the ocean by rising tides, they pop out of the egg membranes and begin life at sea. Because of the unique life cycle, this fish has become a cultural icon. Recent efforts by citizen scientists to report and protect the spawning runs and nests have increased awareness of the biodiversity of the sandy beach ecosystem. This species deserves special recognition for its beauty, its unique behavior, and its role in conservation.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationwww.grunion.org
Your NameKaren Martin