For Immediate Release      

Contact:   Marc Gaden

Jan 18, 2002

 734-662-3209 x. 14

                                                              

Sea Lampreys Invade Chicago Boat Show

Fishery Commission Recognizes National Marine Manufacturers Association for Protecting the Great Lakes Fishery Against Noxious Pest

ANN ARBOR, MIóThe Great Lakes Fishery Commission, responsible for sea lamprey control on the Great Lakes, will display live sea lampreys and live fish during the Chicago Boat Show, January 23 - 27, 2002 at McCormick Place, North Building, in Chicago (booth space 6512). The commission's multi-media display features live sea lampreys, live fish, and an interactive computer which highlights the sea lamprey problem, illustrates how lampreys are controlled, and illustrates the benefits of sea lamprey control to the Great Lakes region. The display also recognizes the important contributions of the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) - the host of the Chicago Boat Show - to a healthy, vibrant Great Lakes.

"The Great Lakes Fishery Commission is proud to be a guest of the NMMA at the Chicago Boat Show," said commission Chairman Bernie Hansen, an Alderman with the City of Chicago. "By exhibiting live sea lampreys during the show, the commission hopes to display to boaters the benefits of the sea lamprey control program and the importance of a healthy Great Lakes fishery."

Sea lampreys, which are native to the Atlantic Ocean, invaded the Great Lakes through shipping canals in the 1920s and 1930s. Sea lampreys are parasitic and are enormously destructive to Great Lakes fish. After invading the Great Lakes, sea lampreys reduced fish harvest dramatically, drove many Great Lakes fish species to near extinction, and contributed to a fishery severely out of balance.

Fortunately, the commission's sea lamprey control program, which has been in place since the late 1950s, has reduced lamprey populations by 90%, keeping lamprey abundance to acceptable levels. The sea lamprey control program allows management agencies to undertake fishery rehabilitation measures and to stock fish. Sea lamprey control has been a significant factor in the rapid growth of sport fishing in the Great Lakes since the 1960s and supports the valuable commercial fishing industry. The Great Lakes fishery is worth up to $4 billion annually to the people of the Great Lakes region.

The NMMA has been a key partner in the sea lamprey control effort. In 1997, noting the need for adequate sea lamprey control funding, NMMA joined with the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association and the Michigan Boating Industries Association to support sea lamprey control and to communicate the benefits of a healthy fishery to U.S. legislators. The efforts of NMMA and its boating partners resulted in a substantial increase in funding to battle the sea lamprey in the Great Lakes. Thanks to these efforts, millions of sea lampreys have been removed from the Great Lakes, before they had a chance to destroy the fish.

"The commission is very pleased to work with the boating industry in this partnership to protect the Great Lakes resources," said Hansen. "Thanks to the National Marine Manufacturers Association and its partners, legislators in the United States have a better understanding of the sea lamprey problem and a greater appreciation for the environmental benefits of sea lamprey control."

For more information about sea lampreys and the commission's program, visit the commission's website at www.glfc.org. For more information about the National Marine Manufacturers Association, visit their website at www.nmma.org.



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