A recent study of Sea Lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) control methods was conducted by L.A. Velez-Espino and R.L. McLaughlin of the Department of Integrative Biology at the University of Guelph and T.C. Pratt of the Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.

The invasion of Sea Lamprey into the Laurentian Great Lakes has had a profound impact on the local ecology. The lamprey has a parasitic stage during which it feeds on the blood and flesh of large fish, sometimes killing them. This along with habitat destruction and overfishing has led to declines in population and endangering of local host fish such as Lake Trout (Salvelinus namaycush).

The study employed matrix models to show that Sea Lamprey populations can continue to be controlled by decreasing use of chemical pesticides that specifically target the lamprey when it is in its parasitic stage and increasing use of alternative control methods that target the adults in their reproductive stages.

NRC Research Press Website: cjfas.nrc.ca, 2008

2 Responses to “Sea Lamprey Control Methods”

  1.   Nancy Anderson Goodridge Says:

    How does the chemical pesticide increase Sea Lamprey populations? And what are the alternative control methods? The last paragraph indicates the problem has been solved – is that the impression you meant to leave? Until the last paragraph, which prompted my questions, this piece is nicely written.

  2.   Ming Ming Wang Says:

    I think I meant to leave the impression that lampricides do decrease sea lamprey populations, but if we were to use less lampricides in combination with alternative control methods, then population control would continue to be as effective as it is now. Some alternatives to lampricides are migration barriers, traps and release of sterilized males. Most sources suggest that lamprey control has been relatively successful. I am simply curious how effective and efficient alternatives to lampricides are. That way, we are not pouring large amounts of potentially dangerous chemicals into the local aquatic ecosystems.