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 TitleApex Predator of the North
Common Name of FishBowfin
Scientific Name of FishAmia calva
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditPaul DeRolf
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

The Bowfin is a fish of mystery and wonder. These creatures cruise the shallow, lily covered waters of northern lakes, chasing their next meal. Within the lakes they inhabit, Bowfin are the top predators. It is this "hunting" capability that makes them a number one target. Bowanglers have a conception that Bowfin "decimate" sportfish (e.g., Bluegill, Bass, Crappie, etc.) populations, just because they are capable predators. This mistreatment of Bowfin leads to rotting carcasses alongside roads, and a potentially imbalanced ecosystem. Not only are Bowfin ace predators, the males are ideal parents. After the spawn the males closely guard their young, normally forming them into a "ball" of baby Bowfin. Males have been reported to physically launch themselves out of the water at terrestrial predators to protect their young. Bowfin need to gain the popularity they deserve and that starts with us educating the public on these beautiful, living fossils.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://blog.nature.org/science/2015/08/24/adventures-bowfin-underdog-fish-prehistoric/
Your NamePaul DeRolf