Integrated Management of Sea Lampreys in the Great Lakes 1995


Larry P. Schleen and Robert J. Young
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6A 6W4
Gerald T. Klar
United States Fish and Wildlife Service
Marquette, Michigan 49855

Executive Summary

This report summarizes integrated management of sea lamprey activities by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Great Lakes in 1995. Lampricide treatments were conducted on 48 tributaries (Table 1). Larval assessment crews surveyed 294 Great Lakes tributaries, inland lakes, and lentic areas to assess TFM treatment or barrier effectiveness, plan future TFM treatments, and establish production capacity of streams. Asessment traps were operated in 73 tributaries and captured 73,415 spawning-phase sea lampreys (Table 2).

Fish community objectives for sea lamprey populations as set by the Lake Committees are being met in Lakes Superior, Erie, and Ontario. The uncontrolled population of sea lamprey larvae in the St. Marys River continues to produce an unacceptably high population of parasitic lampreys in Lake Huron that are compromising lake trout rehabilitation in that lake. In addition, parasitic sea lampreys are more abundant in the northern part of Lake Michigan than in the south and likely are a threat to lake trout survival in the rehabilitation refuges and zones.

Further progress was achieved in development of an effective strategy to control sea lampreys in the St. Marys River. The third year of the larval and habitat mapping was completed with 56 km2 surveyed to date. Trials with the new granular Bayer formulation showed larval populations were reduced by 51-86%. Designs for new adult traps were completed and a rhodamine dye study to predict the effectiveness of a TFM treatment was planned.

Implementation of the sterile male release technique continued in Lake Superior and the St. Marys River. The sterilization facility continues to meet the needs of the program and 23,379 male lampreys were sterilized and released into streams in 1995. A short-term assessment of the technique was conducted on four streams indicating the observed ratio of sterile:resident males in study streams was not significantly different than modelled ratios.

The Barrier Task Force worked on expanding the development and use of sea lamprey barriers. Presently, 52 barrier dams have been constructed or modified on Great Lakes tributaries to stop sea lamprey migration. In 1995, three barriers were constructed and one existing dam modified to prevent passage of spawning sea lampreys.

Studies to monitor the long-term effect of lampricide treatments on macroinvertebrate communities in index rivers continued. Studies were also conducted to determine the potential impacts of sea lamprey management on lake sturgeons in two Lake Superior tributaries. Drift net studies indicated emigration of fry to Lake Superior occurs before July 1 in the Sturgeon River.

A total of 708 public outreach activities were conducted, requiring 224 staff days.

Table 1. Summary of lampricide treatments in streams of the Great Lakes in 1995.

Lake            Number Of Streams       Discharge  m 3/s        TFM g1, 2       Bayer 73kg1     Distance km

Superior        10                      100.7                   7,256            51.9            476.6
Michigan        11                        59.4                  11,570           24.0           679.1
Huron           12                      114.2                   10,916           89.8            262.6
Erie            1                         0.7                   188             -                 48.3
Ontario         14                        47.7                  4,675           -               285.7

Total           48                      322.7                   34,605          165.7           1,752.3

1 Lampricides used are in kg of active ingredient.
2 Includes 726 TFM bars (0.2 kg per bar) applied in 27 streams.

Table 2. Number and biological characteristics of adult sea lampreys captured in assessment traps in tributaries of the Great Lakes in 1995.

Lake            Number of Streams       Total Captured  Number Sampled          Percent Males           Mean Lenth (mm)         Mean Weight (g)
                                                                                                        Males   Females Males           Females

Superior        21                      2,967           552                     56                      440     433             217             210
Michigan        13                      18,729          663                     41                      466     468             244             247
Huron           16                      46,974          811                     53                      458     472             219             234
Erie            8                       504             216                     58                      489     493             285             287
Ontario         15                      4,241           747                     54                      458     468             216             247

Total           73                      73,415

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