Fish Tier List Club sparks fin-tastic conversations, debate among students


Illustration by Angeli Mittal

The Humuhumunukunukuāpua’a and Ocean Sunfish tied for the S-tier ranking.

Joanna Hou, Reporter

One night in September, Weinberg sophomore Alex Lawson started arguing with SESP sophomore Max Byrne about whether the Ocean Sunfish is a “trash-tier fish.”

“It’s very big and can’t move. (Its) strategy is just to be so big that nothing can eat it,” Lawson said. “But then I went and did research on the Ocean Sunfish, and they kind of mess everything in the ocean up.”

The debate and research Lawson conducted inspired them to start the Fish Tier List Club. Every Sunday, club members meet to participate in 10-minute debates on five pre-selected fish. At the end of the meeting, members vote on each fish, assigning them to one of seven tiers, ranging from S-tier, for the superior, to F-tier, for the worst.

Lawson teamed up with Weinberg junior Kabeer Kishore and Byrne to run the club’s Twitter and Instagram, respectively. The Instagram page has 160 followers and 74 people have joined the club’s GroupMe.

“The basic goal is to make (the Instagram) as amusing as possible,” Byrne said. “You can see the club and the jokes, even if you’re not going to the meetings.”

Weinberg sophomore Noah Blaisdell, a Fish Tier List Club member, said he enjoys the club’s fun nature. At a recent meeting, Blaisdell, who is from Hawaii, argued for the state fish, the Humuhumunukunukuāpua’a, to receive the first S-tier ranking.

Blaisdell said he structured his argument around the fish’s beautiful appearance and aggressive demeanor. Presenting a fish from home was a special experience, he said.

“Growing up in Hawaii, I almost always had a pet fish and I also really like diving in the ocean,” Blaisdell said. “The Humuhumunukunukuāpua’a is our messiah fish of Hawaii.”

The Humuhumunukunukuāpua’a ultimately did achieve S-tier based on a group vote.

During debates, members evaluate fish on several criteria. While Byrne said they prioritize how the fish interacts with its environment, Lawson said many people rank based on the fish’s vibes.

The variety of criteria makes debates interesting, Lawson and Byrne agreed.

“(When ranking goldfish) you can talk about their cultural significance, or goldfish crackers or (argue) that it’s the classic pet,” Byrne said.

Fish Tier List Club’s democratic focus allows all members to defend their opinions, Lawson said. The fish’s ultimate ranking reflects the quality of the argument.

However, Lawson said their personal S-tier fish will always be the Ocean Sunfish.

“If someone drops the Ocean Sunfish on you, you will die,” Lawson said. “I don’t think there are many fish that weigh that much, so if you get that big, good on you. You’re doing something right.”

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @joannah_11

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