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Sea lamprey control planned for northern Michigan stream

Jun 20, 2016

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is preparing to wage battle against invasive sea lampreys in a stream near Alpena.

Sea lampreys are eel-like creatures that attach themselves to other fish and suck their blood. An adult can kill around 40 pounds of fish in its lifetime.

Officials plan to use a chemical treatment to kill sea lamprey larvae in Long Lake Outlet between June 27 and July 1.    

"[Sea lampreys] are a pest on lake trout, salmon, and other game fish in the Great Lakes basin," says Alex Gonzales with the USFWS. Gonzalez says chemical treatments against sea lampreys have been in place since the late 1950s, and have been effective at controlling the population.

"It is a control program. It is not an elimination program, because each treatment is about 95 to 99 percent effective," Gonzalez said.

The Fish and Wildlife Service says lampricides are selectively toxic to sea lampreys but a few fish, insects, and plants are sensitive.