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Sea Grant asking anglers to collect sea lampreys for Lake Champlain study

Plattsburgh, NY Lake Champlain Sea Grant Extension Project and New York Sea Grant would like anglers assistance in collecting sea lampreys from Lake Champlain in 2002 and 2003.

The non-native fish that feed on the blood and body fluids of large fishes important to the sportfishing industry will be studied to help optimize planned control of the parasitic fish which have had a devastating impact on native fish populations in Lake Champlain and in the Great Lakes.

"By bringing the lamprey in, anglers can make a significant contribution to research that will improve our understanding about sea lamprey ecology and how managers can best exploit any weak spots in the sea lamprey life cycle. This work will help support the recently adopted Long-term Program of Sea Lamprey Control in Lake Champlain prepared by USFWS, VTFWS, and NYSDEC, and may indirectly support lamprey control in the Great Lakes," said Mark Malchoff, with the Lake Champlain Sea Grant Extension Project, Plattsburgh, NY. "Research may help managers identify and prioritize those tributaries most linked to adult lamprey production. If so, the research could eventually help reduce the amount of lampricide needed to control the lamprey population in Lake Champlain, since some tributaries could be ignored."

As an Aquatic Resources Specialist with Sea Grant, Malchoffs responsibility is to develop an outreach program to enlist the cooperation of the angling community in the return of tagged lamprey.

Sea lamprey attach themselves to fish, boats, and angling equipment. Their jawless, blood-sucking feeding method helped decimate lake trout populations in Lakes Ontario, Erie, Huron and Michigan. Lamprey have greatly hindered the restoration of lake trout populations and land-locked Atlantic Salmon in Lake Champlain, by limiting the growth or killing host fish.

Lamprey swim up streams to spawn and die in the spring. The hatched larvae stay in stream sediments for four to se
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Contact: Ben Sherman
sherman@nasw.org
202-662-7095
National Sea Grant College Program
25-Jun-2002


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