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Great Lakes Article:

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 Lake Champlain.

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 of funds.

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 generations.

"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 said.

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 lamprey.

"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.


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