Houghton County creek to be treated for lamprey | News, Sports, Jobs



Great Lakes Sea Grant Network Sea lamprey attached to a lake trout. These parasites attach themselves to fish and suck the blood of fish. Only one in seven fish can survive a sea lamprey attack. The attacks have resulted in reduced stocks of lake trout, salmon, whitefish, cisco and monkfish in the Great Lakes.

HOUGHTON – U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service staff will apply lampricides to Schlotz Creek, located in the community of Oskar, Stanton Township, to kill sea lamprey larvae buried in the bottom of the creek. The announcement comes in a Thursday press release from the Interior Ministry

Midwest Region 3 – Great Lakes, in Marquette.

Applications will be made on or around September 28, 2021, in accordance with permits from the State of Michigan. Applications will be complete in approximately seven days. Application dates are provisional and may be changed depending on local weather or stream conditions in the vicinity of the time of treatment.

Sea lamprey larvae inhabit certain tributaries of the Great Lakes and develop into parasitic adults that migrate to the Great Lakes and kill fish. Failure to kill larvae in streams would result in significant damage to the Great Lakes fishery. Infested tributaries should be treated every three to five years with lampricides to control sea lamprey populations.

Sea lampreys are a jawless parasitic fish native to the Atlantic Ocean, says the Fish and Wildlife Service. By invading the Great Lakes via man-made locks and shipping canals, their aggressive behavior and appetite for fish blood have taken their toll on native fish populations. Sea lampreys have wiped out an already vulnerable lake trout fishery.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency reviewed human health and environmental safety data for lampricides and concluded in 2003 that lampricides (Lampricid and Bayluscide) do not pose any unreasonable risk to the general population and the environment when applied at the concentrations necessary to control sea lamprey larvae in release states. However, as with any pesticide, the public is advised to exercise discretion and minimize unnecessary exposure. Lampricides are selectively toxic to sea lampreys, but some fish, insects and broadleaf plants are susceptible. People who confine baitfish or other organisms in stream water are advised to use an alternate water source, as lampricides can cause the death of aquatic organisms stressed by overcrowding and manipulation. Agricultural irrigation should be suspended for 24 hours, during and after treatment.

Lampricides, like all pesticides sold or distributed in the United States and Canada, must be registered with the US EPA and Health Canada’s Pest Management Regulatory Agency, according to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. However, fish caught during treatment should be filleted to further reduce exposure to lampricides. More than 95 percent of the lampricide residue in a fish is contained in parts other than the fillets, reports the Fisheries Commission.

Thorough preparations are needed for safe and effective flow treatment, the statement said. Prior to treatment, staff collect data on the chemistry and discharge of the water from the stream. Additionally, they can perform on-site toxicity testing with lampricides and streamflow studies with dyes that cause stream water to appear red or green.

The lampricides are carefully dosed into the stream for approximately 12 hours and continuously analyzed at predetermined sites to ensure that the appropriate concentrations are maintained while the lampricides are transported downstream, the release states. Applicators are trained and certified by regulatory agencies for aquatic pesticide applications.

The program is contracted out through the Great Lakes Fisheries Commission to the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Fisheries and Oceans Canada. The Commission initiated chemical control of sea lampreys in 1958. Since that time, the highly successful program has contributed significantly to sustaining the $ 7 billion in Great Lakes sport and commercial fishing.

“The Commission is committed to implementing a sea lamprey control program which practices good environmental management”, states the US Fish and Wildlife. “To support the continued safe use of lampricides, the Commission recently conducted a series of studies totaling $ 6 million to assess the effects of lampricides on human health and the environment. In addition to these studies, the Commission has implemented a research program to develop alternative control techniques. The Commission is also developing a strategy to increase the number of barriers on rivers producing lampreys and is conducting research on barrier design, traps, attractants and biological controls.

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