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 TitleCapelin: Summertime sex on the beach or in the deep
Common Name of FishCapelin
Scientific Name of FishMallotus villosus
Image of Fish
  • Image of Fish
  • Image of Fish
Image Caption and CreditDSC_0009.jpg - Male (top) and female (bottom) capelin in spawning condition from Middle Cove Beach, NL, Canada; pair of capelin on beach.jpg - A pair of capelin spawning at Bellevue Beach, NL, Canada; photo credit for both Aaron Adamack
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

While the argument over which is better: birds, fish or mammals will likely never be resolved, one thing that birds, fish and mammals living in the more northerly portion of the Northern Hemisphere can agree on is that capelin are one of the best foods around! Puffins, gannets, humpbacks, minke, salmon and cod all love to eat capelin. They're so tasty, that they're often on the menu at zoos, aquariums and farms. However, if capelin aren't available in sufficient numbers, puffins and gannets struggle to feed their young and Atlantic cod may starve.

Capelin have an interesting history and some peculiar habits. They are originally from the Pacific Ocean, but spread across the Arctic and into the Atlantic Ocean. Most prefer sex on the beach in summer, but Icelandic and Barents Sea capelin prefer doing it in deeper in water in spring. Finally, capelin rolling on beaches in Newfoundland (e.g. spawning) often leads to traffic jams as people come down to watch and collect a feed of capelin.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://doi.org/10.3354/meps12924
Your NameAaron Adamack