What is a Sea Lamprey?
How Did They Get Here And What Do They Do?
How Do We Stop Them?!
The large impact of the sea lamprey on Great Lakes commercial, sport and Aboriginal fisheries in the 1940s and 50s made Canada and the U.S.A to form the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in 1955. Since then the commission has led a program to assess and control the species using measures that target different stages of its life cycle. These include chemicals that only kill lamprey larvae, and barriers and traps that prevent adult lampreys from moving upstream to spawn. These do not harm other fish
Although it is basically impossible to eliminate the sea lamprey from the Great Lakes, ongoing efforts to control the species have reduced populations by 90%!
How Do I Know If What I Found Is A Sea Lamprey And What Do I Do?
- Cylindrical bodies are 30 to 76 centimetres long, and have no scales.
- Leathery skin is grey to dark brown with dark blotches and a lighter belly.
- Sharp teeth radiate around a rasp-like tongue at the centre of a large sucker mouth.
- The fish has large eyes, two dorsal fins, no pelvic or pectoral fins, a single, mid-dorsal nostril, and seven obvious gill openings on each side.
- Larvae are up to 18 centimetres long, blind and wormlike, with a black to pale grey body and a light underside.
- In larvae four centimetres or longer, the first and second dorsal fins are distinctly separate.
If caught while fishing or is on a fish you have caught, do not throw it back. Just kill it and throw it in garbage or call Hotline 1-800-563-7711
References For Pictures and Information
Sea Lamprey | Ontario’s Invading Species Awareness Program. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2016, from http://www.invadingspecies.com/invaders/fish/sea-lamprey/
Nightmare Fuel: Sea Lamprey Caught In New Jersey River | Geekologie. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 2016, from http://geekologie.com/2013/02/nightmare-fuel-sea-lamprey-caught-in-new.php
Braun, D. M. (2008, August 20). Bloodsucking Fish Follows Chemical Trail to Breeding Grounds. Retrieved May 24, 2016, from http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2008/08/20/bloodsucking_lamprey/