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USGS scientist takes aim at Great Lakes invaders

Rising Higher: A Research Lab Built from the Ground Up - Part 2

Great Lakes Researchers Go Down Under

Rising Higher: A Research Lab Built from the Ground Up - Part 1

Meet the Fleet: GLFC-USGS Partnership Makes Waves with Newly Renovated Deepwater Science Vessel Fleet

A Monograph on Ciscoes of the Laurentian Great Lakes and Lake Nipigon

WATCH: Acoustic Telemetry Provides In-Depth Look into Fish Behavior

Eel-Ladder Style Traps: A New Lamprey Control Tool

A Lampricide Treatment: Up-Close

Lamprey Nativeness Claims Annulled by Commission's Eshenroder

A Population at the Edge: American Eel Declining at the Extremes

Celebrating 60 Years of Successful Sea Lamprey Control, Science, and Cross-Border Collaboration!

Great Lakes Fishery Commission Hosts Workshop to Explore Lampricide Resistance and the Development of Next Generation Lampricides

Great Lakes Scientists Use Acoustic Telemetry to Reveal the Secret Lives of Fish

Taking Lampreys on the Road!

Hammond Bay Biological Station: The Nexus for Research and Restoration on the Great Lakes

Big Consequences of Small Invaders

It's Getting Hot in Here!

New Sea Lamprey Estimates Suggest a Dramatically Decreased Population

Conducting Research through Cooperative Partnerships: The PERM Agreement

Living on the Edge: A Closer Look at Coastal Communities

Asian Carp: The War Isn't Over

Managing the Lake Huron Fishery

American Eels in Peril

Understanding Sea Lamprey: Mapping the Genome and Identifying Pheromones

A Lampricide Treatment: Up-Close

Have you ever wondered how sea lamprey populations are controlled? How is one species - a species responsible for the near-destruction of the Great Lakes fishery - singled-out from all the others? How are the bad guys targeted, yet all the good guys remain unharmed?

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission and its partners maintain an "integrated" sea lamprey control program that combines several control methods to attack sea lampreys, including lampricides, barriers, and traps. Since the early 1960s, lampricides have been the primary method of sea lamprey control in the Great Lakes basin and are essential to ensure the protection of the $7 billion fishery. Over 200 Great Lakes tributaries are regularly treated with lampricides, chemical compounds that effectively kill sea lamprey larvae without significant harm to surrounding plants or animals. Watch the video below for a comprehensive view of a large-scale lampricide treatment, a central tool in the Commission's Sea Lamprey Control Program.

There are two basic lampricide chemicals: TFM and niclosamide. TFM is more widely used and acts physiologically to disrupt energy metabolism in larval sea lampreys. Compared to other fish, sea lampreys have low levels of the enzymes used to eliminate TFM from their bodies, which eventually leads to their death. During some treatments, TFM is combined with less-expensive liquid or powdered forms of niclosamide, thereby reducing the amount of TFM needed while still maintaining treatment effectiveness.

Rifle River Lampricide Treatment
Description:   Sea lamprey control agents treat the Rifle River near West Branch, Michigan. The control program targets invasive larval sea lamprey before they have a chance to prey on Great Lakes fish.
Source: GLFC
Download high resolution from GLFC's Video Vault  

These lampricides are registered as restricted use pesticides with the U.S. EPA and Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency. This registration means only certified pesticide applicators, or, control agents, may apply lampricides and that they pose no unreasonable risk to humans or the environment at the concentrations applied. The Commission must reregister the lampricides every ten years with these agencies to ensure that the control program remains current with changing environmental and human health safety standards.

Every lamprey-infested river and tributary requires regular lampricide treatment, usually every three to five years. Federal control agents from the Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service spend days performing a thorough treatment of the tributaries. The video above follows 57 Sea Lamprey Control Program agents as they treat the Rifle River near West Branch, Michigan. Over the course the 8-day lampricide treatment, these agents display their commitment and endurance to sea lamprey control and the health of the $7 billion Great Lakes fishery. For more information, click on the hyperlinks within the text.