Regional Director Tom Melius Attends Sea Lamprey Tour with Partners
June 9, 2014
Midwest Regional Director, Tom Melius and Sea Lamprey Control Employee, Bruce Eldridge at the site of sea lamprey traps. Photo by GLFC.
The Great Lakes Fishery Commission hosted a field tour of the Sea Lamprey Control Program in Michigan during May 27-30, 2014. The tour brought newly appointed commissioners together and invited guests from the U.S. and Canada to learn about the latest and greatest in sea lamprey control work through briefings and demonstrations, including U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Tom Melius. This tour passed through several sites including Ann Arbor, Mich., Cheboygan, Mich., and Sault Ste. Marie, Canada.
Sea lamprey control was established as a priority for the Service 58 years ago through a treaty with Canada and the Great Lakes Fishery Act of 1956. The Service is the main agency charged with carrying out the Sea Lamprey Control Program in U.S. waters of the Great Lakes. Regional Director Melius, was in attendance at the tour to represent the Service’s program, learn more about sea lamprey control and meet with our partners to discuss the invasive species. Currently, the Service uses several tactics to keep the sea lamprey population in check including barriers, trapping and lampricides, which are selectively toxic to this species. Several of these tactics were demonstrated during the tour.
The sea lamprey, native to the Atlantic Ocean, invaded the Great Lakes in the 1930s. Sea lamprey feed on important native fish such as lake trout, Pacific salmon, steelhead, and lake sturgeon. Sea lampreys, which decimated Great Lakes fisheries in the 1940-50s have been reduced to less than 10% of their abundance prior to the start of control operations. To control the sea lamprey in the Great Lakes, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission was formed in 1955. The commission, in cooperation with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the Service, work together to keep the sea lampreys at bay and facilitate the restoration of the Great Lakes.
You can learn more about the Service’s Sea Lamprey Control Program on our website at: http://www.fws.gov/midwest/fisheries/sea-lamprey.html.
The results of a sea lamprey trapping demonstration during the tour. Photo by GLFC.
USFWS employee, Jason Krebill collects sea lamprey larvae on the Au Sable River, Michigan. Photo by USFWS.
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