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Sea Lamprey Control

Posted on behalf of Rich Greenwood <rich_greenwood@smtp2.irm.r9.fws.gov>

For Immediate Release             
April 27, 1998                    
Larry Sisk (612) 713-5110, E:mail:   Larry_Sisk@mail.fws.gov 
Gary Klar 906/226-1206, E:mail:   Gerald_Klar@mail.fws.gov
Increased Funding Critical for Sea Lamprey Control in Great Lakes 
The Canadian Federal Government has increased its support for sea
lamprey  control in the Great Lakes for Fiscal Year 1998-99 to $6
million (Canadian). This is an increase of $900,000 from last year. 
Funding for sea lamprey control is provided by both Canada and the
United States and is administered by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission
(Commission). The Commission contracts a large part of the sea lamprey
management and research program to the Department of Fisheries and
Oceans Canada (DFO) and the U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 
"We appreciate Canada's continued support of this vital program," said
Bill Hartwig, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director. 
"Control of sea lamprey is critical to the restoration of the Great
Lakes ecosystem.  We are proud to continue as a partner with the
Department of Fisheries and Oceans and others to protect the Great Lakes
Funding support comes at a critical time, as partners begin to address
the challenge of sea lamprey control on the St. Marys River.  This
system currently produces more lamprey than all Great Lakes tributaries
combined, at levels nearly as large as those before control measures
were started 40 years ago. Lake trout and whitefish stocks were
decimated by sea lamprey, each of which can destroy up to 40 pounds of
fish during the 18 months of its adult life in the lakes.  
With the increase in funds from Canada and funds provided by the State
of Michigan to supplement the effort, effective control can begin on St.
Marys River.  Control on this system is expected to reduce lamprey
populations in Lake Huron and northern Lake Michigan by 85 percent. 
Sea lamprey control began when the United States and Canada signed the
1955 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, which created the Great Lakes
Fishery Commission. Since then, the Commission and its agents have
carried out a highly successful sea lamprey control program that has
reduced overall lamprey populations by 90 percent. Research has led to
better formulations of lampricides and innovative techniques involving
trapping and sterile male release programs. With control, agencies take
measures to establish naturally-reproducing fish populations. Fewer
lamprey means more quality fish and fishing for years to come.