Vermont to use chemicals against lampreys
The Associated Press
Published June 16, 2004
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont will move forward this
fall with a program to kill lamprey that are making a
comeback in Lake Champlain and threaten certain fish.
Gov. Jim Douglas announced Tuesday that the Vermont Agency
of Natural Resources has issued permits needed by the
state's Fish and Wildlife Department and the U.S. Fish
and Wildlife Agency to put as much as 2,000 gallons of
chemicals into the lower Winooski River to control the
The Winooski River was scheduled to be treated last fall,
but the state Health Department raised concerns about
the pesticide that would be used along the populated river
stretch. Douglas said the concerns about trifluoromethyl-nitrophenol,
or TFM, have been alleviated.
"We've worked with the Department of Health, and
the agency is moving forward and issuing the permit,"
Douglas said. "The problem of lamprey is a prodigious
one, and it's gotten worse in recent years."
Lampreys are underwater parasites, attaching themselves
to fish with suction-cup mouths and draining the host
fish of blood. Lampreys often target gamefish such as
salmon, trout and bass but have been documented in Lake
Champlain preying on sturgeon, an endangered species.
The Winooski River is a major producer of lampreys.
The number of lampreys in Lake Champlain was controlled
during an eight-year experimental program that concluded
in 1997. Fishery officials have been trying to establish
a long-term control program for a few years.
Douglas was at Burlington's waterfront Tuesday to kick
off the 23rd annual Lake Champlain International Fishing
Derby, which begins this weekend. About 6,500 anglers
are expected to fish in the derby, and most of them have
been advocates for increased lamprey control on the big
"They better do something pretty quick," said
Vince Dattilio, who runs a tackle shop in South Burlington.
"Not only are there very few fish left; it's getting
to the point where these things are starting to attach
TFM, a pesticide that kills the immature, larval form
of sea lampreys living in tributaries, has been used in
Great Lakes lamprey control programs for more than 40
years. It was used extensively during Champlain's experimental
lamprey control program and was applied in 2002 to Lewis
Creek in Ferrisburgh.