For Immediate Release
July 18, 2000

Contact: Marc Gaden
734-662-3209 ext. 14

 Senate Committee Acts to Protect  Great Lakes Fishery

Additional funds for Great Lakes Fishery Commission included in new budget

Ann Arbor, MI—The Senate Committee on Appropriations today took a major step forward in the protection of the Great Lakes fishery by approving a significant increase in funds for the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, a bi-national institution on the Great Lakes charged with sea lamprey control and fisheries research. The Senate bill increases the commission’s funding from $9.353 million $12.353 million and, if accepted by the House of Representatives, will be a substantial boost in the war against the sea lamprey, an exotic invader that wreaks havoc on the Great Lakes fishery. The additional funds will be used to control sea lampreys in all areas of the Great Lakes and to implement new sea lamprey control methods that do not rely on lampricides.

“Sea lampreys remain the single biggest threat to a healthy, vibrant, and economically viable fishery,” said Bernard Hansen, chairman of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. “The average sea lamprey kills up to 40 pounds of Great Lakes fish during its lifetime. Fortunately, we have the knowledge and the technology to keep this incredibly destructive pest under control. Thanks to our control program, lamprey populations remain at only 10% of their historic high. A remarkable environmental success.”

Commissioner Roy Stein of The Ohio State University added: “The Great Lakes fishery and the environment stand to benefit tremendously from today’s action in the United States Senate. With these additional funds, we will be able to implement more and better sea lamprey control and maintain a sound research program that allows fishery managers to base decisions on science. Exciting innovations in sea lamprey control, aided by this increase in funding, will mean a stronger, more environmentally friendly sea lamprey control effort that relies on several techniques working together to reach our suppression goals.”

Chairman Hansen concluded: “Our Senators have been true leaders in the protection and enhancement of our fishery. I commend Senator Spencer Abraham of Michigan for leading this charge and for his commitment to protecting our natural resources. I also commend the Great Lakes Task Force—under the chairmanship of Senators Carl Levin and Mike DeWine—and Senators Richard Durbin, Patrick Leahy, and Herb Kohl, who worked particularly hard for this funding. The commission is grateful to the Michigan Boating Industries Association, the Lake Erie Marine Trades Association, the National Marine Manufacturers Association, Great Lakes United, and the Michigan Steelheaders, who have eloquently communicated the need for a healthy fishery to our elected officials.”

For more information about the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and its program, visit the commission online at