The History of 'Zeus'
This picture of the American John Dory, Zenopsis conchifera has accompanied all communications of the Tropical and Subtropical Seafood Science and Technology (SST) Society of the Americas since the first annual conference held March 1976 in Corpus Christi, Texas. The reasons for the selection of this fish are somewhat of a mystery bordering on humor, but the beast has silently endured over the years. He was pictured on the first publication of this professional organization when it was known as the Tropical and Subtropical Fisheries Technological Society. He remains a true resident of our region swimming along the continental shelf and slopes to about 600 meters from southern Brazil to Nova Scotia. He is not harvested commercially in this region, but his foreign cousins from the family Zeidae are regarded as food in Europe and a fishery is reported in Australia. Today he also swims in animation across the SST website – http://sst.ifas.ufl.edu. He has survived attempts to replace him with more meaningful seafoods or scientific images. Some have even called him ugly and degrading, but he has endured transitions and critics.
For his dedicated service it is proposed that he should be officially recognized as the SST mascot with the honored name, ‘Zeus’. This name is based on his original genus title, Zeus. He deserves special recognition and status because he exemplifies dedication, resilience to criticism, and indifference to vogues, while he swims in the regional waters that bind our Society.
Background Information: Bigelow and Schroeder’s 2002, 3rd Edition, Fishes of the Gulf of Maine . Edited by R. Collette and G. Klein – MacPhee. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington , DC . 748 pp. Picture by H.C. Todd (1953).