For Immediate Release
August 7, 1996

Contact: Marc Gaden
313-662-3209 ext. 14

Canada Restores Great Lakes Sea Lamprey Control Program Funding

Minister Fred Mifflin, head of the Canadian Department of Fisheries and Oceans, announced today thatCanada will contribute $5.145 million (CAN) this year and next year to the joint U.S./Canadian Great Lakes Fishery Commission, which manages the highly successful Great Lakes sea lamprey control program. This announcement means Canada will provide the same level of funding for this program as last year. In making this announcement, Minister Mifflin emphasized the need for and the willingness of his department to develop new partnerships to secure future funding for this program.

"The Canadian decision to provide this funding for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's sea lamprey control program is good news for the Great Lakes fishery," said Gail Beggs, the commission's chair. "The Canadian funding level means the commission should be able to carry out a full lamprey treatment schedule and continue to invest in alternative, non-lampricide control measures. I commend Canada for its commitment to this important program."

Commission Vice-Chair Charles Krueger added: "Controlling the exotic sea lamprey is one of the most important things we can do to protect the fishery today and to ensure its sustainability for tomorrow. We must not lose sight of the fact that left uncontrolled--even for a short amount of time--lampreys will destroy the fishery. The good news is, we have the knowledge, the technology, and the commitment from the governments to deal with this problem."

Over the course of the next several months, the commission will assist the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, and the stakeholders to ensure long-term funding for the sea lamprey control program. Said Minister Mifflin: "Members of the Ontario Liberal caucus have emphasized to me that this program to control the sea lamprey is extremely important. I am confident that the province and other stakeholders such as the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, who have collectively expressed their support for this program and their willingness to contribute, will come to the table to find ways of ensuring that sea lamprey suppression remains effective in the Great Lakes into the next century."

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission was established by treaty between the United States and Canada in 1956 to coordinate fishery research between the two nations and to develop and implement a joint sea lamprey control program on the Great Lakes. Each government appoints four commissioners (the United States, also, has one alternate) and has agreed to a funding mechanism where the United States pays 69% of the lamprey control program and Canada pays 31%. This funding ratio is roughly coincidental with the area of the Great Lakes in each country's boundaries and the value of historical fish harvest prior to the sea lamprey invasion.


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