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Great Lakes: Lamprey Numbers Remain High

A sea lamprey caught by workers at the Ludington Biological Station.
A sea lamprey caught by workers at the Ludington Biological Station.

The number of sea lampreys remains high in Lakes Michigan, Huron and Erie, according to a new report to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. The eel-like fish was one of the first invasive species to arrive in the lake. It frequently kills lake trout and can also harm white fish and salmon.

According to the report, the number of lampreys in Lakes Michigan and Huron is just above the goal, but the problem with sea lamprey is most serious in Lake Erie. There are believed to be more lampreys in Erie now then there were when control programs began there.

Marc Gaden, with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, says they believe most of the lampreys in Erie are being born in or near Lake St. Clair.

“We haven’t found the smoking gun yet, however. We’re not sure where the mother-load is in the Huron-Erie corridor, or even if in fact that’s where it is. But we do have some evidence that is helping to point us in the right direction,” he says.

Wildlife agencies in Canada and the U.S. use a chemical treatment to kill lampreys all over the Great Lakes.

Peter Payette is the Executive Director of Interlochen Public Radio.