Who We Are
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Fisheries Program has played a vital role in conserving America's fisheries since 1871, partnering with states, tribes, federal agencies, other Service programs, and private interests in efforts to conserve fish and other aquatic resources. The Fisheries Program provides a broad network of on-the-ground expertise that is unique in its geographic coverage, its array of scientific capabilities, and its ability to work strategically across political and jurisdictional boundaries.
How We Help
Sea lamprey control is a critical component to fisheries management in the Great Lakes because it facilitates the rehabilitation of important fish stocks by significantly reducing sea lamprey induced mortality on Great Lakes fishes. Control of sea lampreys is critical to efforts to restore lake trout, the native, keystone predatory fish in the Great Lakes, as well as protecting valuable commercial species such as lake whitefish, and sport fishes such as Pacific salmons. Ludington Biological Station staff fulfill U.S. obligations under the 1955 Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries between the U.S. and Canada, and the Great Lakes Fishery Act of 1956. We work closely with state, tribal, and other federal agencies in developing fish community objectives (FCO’s) for sea lampreys in each of the Great Lakes and in developing and implementing actions to achieve these objectives as well as the FCO’s for other species negatively affected by sea lamprey predation. Activities are closely coordinated with state, tribal, other federal and provincial management agencies, non-government organizations, private land owners, and the general public. Our primary goal is to conduct ecologically sound and publicly acceptable integrated sea lamprey management.
Tribal Trust Responsibilities
Conserving U.S. fish and other aquatic resources cannot be successful without the partnership of tribes. They manage or influence some of the most important aquatic habitats both on and off reservations. In addition, the federal government and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service have distinct and unique obligations toward tribes based on trust responsibility, treaty provisions, and statutory mandates.
In August 2000, the U.S. District Court, Western District Court, Western District of Michigan Southern Division, issued a consent decree that specified how fishery resources will be managed in the portions of lakes Superior, Huron, and Michigan within ceded waters of the 1836 Treaty of Washington. The 2000 Consent Decree, based on a settlement agreement among the U.S., five tribal governments, and State of Michigan, addresses lake trout rehabilitation and requires that sea lamprey control efforts significantly reduce sea lamprey-induced lake trout mortality from 1998 levels. Failure to achieve a reduction in lamprey-induced mortality on lake trout within the 1836 Treaty waters could result in a party requesting relief from lake trout rehabilitation goals contained within the decree.