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USING A FISHWHEEL TO CAPTURE SEA LAMPREYS
Scott Miehls1 and Michael Siefkes2
1USGS, Hammond Bay Biological Station, 11188 Ray Road, Millersburg, MI 49759. email@example.com
2Great Lakes Fishery Commission, 2100 Commonwealth Blvd. Ann Arbor, MI 48105.
Capturing migrating adult Sea Lampreys provides critical assessment of Sea Lamprey control program effectiveness in the Great Lakes and removal of adult lampreys prior to spawning could benefit control efforts. Conventional trapping equipment effectiveness is 1) limited to streams with barriers to upstream migration and 2) does not remove enough of the spawning population to be considered an effective control strategy. This study concludes a two phased evaluation of the efficacy of fishwheels for capturing upstream migrating Sea Lampreys in Great Lakes tributaries. We deployed a 3 m fishwheel in an open section of the Manistee River, Michigan approximately 37 km upstream of Lake Michigan during spring 2013 and 2014 to obtain Sea Lamprey mark-recapture population estimates. Sea Lampreys were captured at the fishwheel immediately following deployment in April during both years, however, capture success was significantly lower than at a conventional USFWS Sea Lamprey trap located 10 km upstream at the first barrier to upstream migration. We were unable to obtain an accurate population estimate using fishwheel captured Sea Lampreys alone. Our study indicates that a fishwheel alone in an open river environment does not capture sufficient numbers of migratory Sea Lampreys to obtain a population estimate. Some method of guiding or crowding lampreys toward the fishwheel will be needed to improve efficacy. Interestingly, during 2014 no marked Sea Lamprey released from the fishwheel were recaptured at the upstream USFWS trap and vice versa, despite a common release point for all marked lampreys.