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 TitleFrom Cannery Row to Climate Change
Common Name of FishPacific sardine
Scientific Name of FishSardinops sagax
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditSardine caught off the pier of Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Photo credit: Rebecca Asch
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

The Pacific sardine fishery on the US West Coast was forever memorialized in John Steineck's book Cannery Row, which documented the comedic antics of the community around the sardine canneries in Monterey Bay. The crash of this productive fishery helped illustrate the limits of the ocean's carrying capacity. The debate about whether the crash of this fishery was caused by overfishing versus changes in ocean climate prompted the development of the California Cooperative Oceanic Fisheries Investigations (CalCOFI). During its first decade, CalCOFI collected oceanographic and fisheries data monthly surveying hundreds of stations between Baja California and Vancouver and extending a few hundred kilometers offshore. While the scope of this program has been reduced, it remains one of the oldest and most extensive joint surveys of oceanography and fisheries. CalCOFI data have been used to extensively document the effects of climate change and climate variability on marine fisheries.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://www.calcofi.org
Your NameRebecca Asch