Northeast agencies work with Great
Lakes to fight sea lamprey
Detroit Free Press
Published May 5, 2005
BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) -- Fish and wildlife officials from
Vermont, New York and Quebec formally joined forces with
Great Lakes scientists Thursday to fight sea lamprey in
The Lake Champlain Fish and Wildlife Management Cooperative
has been working with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission
on lamprey control and research since 1990.
On Thursday they made their partnership official by signing
a memorandum of understanding.
"The cooperative and the commission are brought
together because simply we share a common enemy,"
said Gerry Barnhart, chairman of the Great Lakes Fishery
Commission. "By working together we can combine our
collective intellect, our resources, our political will
to do battle with this common enemy in both of these great
systems, the Great Lakes and Lake Champlain."
Through the collaboration, the two international groups
will share research, technical assistance and the management
Sea lamprey, which feed on the bodily fluids of fish,
have damaged fish in the Great Lakes since the 1950s and
ravaged lake trout and salmon in Lake Champlain.
Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said the communities around
the lake have a duty to protect the lake for the future
"Money by itself can't do it," Leahy said.
"It requires New York and Canada and Vermont and
the commission and the cooperative, all of you working
together, because we all have the same goal."
Leahy said the collaboration will assure that congressional
funding will continue.
"The science is there. I believe the will is there.
This will make sure the money will be there," he
Vermont has worked with fish and wildlife agencies in
New York and Canada and the U.S. And Wildlife Service
since 1972 when the cooperative was formed.
Every year biologists test lake trout and salmon in Lake
Champlain and determine the number of fish wounded by
"We intend to help you reduce the wounding rates
in Lake Champlain to something more tolerable," said
Dale Burkett of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. "Right
now you're suffering 54 to 90 marks per hundred fish.
In the Great Lakes we have targets in the range of five
per hundred fish."
Lamprey attacks on fish have dropped in Lake Champlain
since lamprey-killing chemicals were added to Lewis Creek
and New York streams before 2004.
The effects of chemicals added last fall will not be
noticeable until the fall of this year, fish and wildlife
officials have said.