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 TitleNassau Grouper and its Starlight Spawning Soirees
Common Name of FishNassau Grouper
Scientific Name of FishEpinephelus striatus
Image of FishImage of Fish
Image Caption and CreditCredit: Twilight Zone Expedition Team 2007, NOAA-OER
Description of Why This Fish Is Important/Interesting

Historically, this was a fish so iconic across the Caribbean that it graced postage stamps of multiple countries, including Antigua, Barbuda, the British Virgin Islands, Dominica, Monserrat, Cuba, and the Bahamas. This fish is notable for its formation of massive spawning aggregations where up to 100,000 fishes amass on the outer reef shelf typically during a full moon, with the singular goal of having a humongous fish orgy. The locations of spawning aggregations are extremely predictable, with fish returning to the same locations at the same time each year. Since this sexual routine was discovered by humans, many spawning aggregations were fished to the point of complete extirpation. As a result, today Nassau grouper is listed as a critically endangered species by the IUCN Red List. Conservation efforts are proving successful in some locations, such as the Cayman Islands, but this is a fish that still needs protection to recover from past overfishing.

Website or Journal Article for More Informationhttps://www.reef.org/programs/grouper-moon-project-protecting-caribbean-icon
Your NameRebecca Asch