The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio


April 8, 2013

Outdoors Insider, with Dale Sunderlin: Lampreys the target of program

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Sea Lamprey Control Program (SLCP) will be treating Grand River and Conneaut Creek between April 23 and May 16, 2013 to kill larval sea lampreys.

The sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) is a primitive, parasitic, jawless fish that feeds on blood and tissue fluids of its host fish.

Native to the North Atlantic, sea lampreys gained access and invaded the Great Lakes following the construction of the Welland Canal (Circa 1830).

This parasite, along with intense fishing pressure, nearly eliminated native lake trout populations (Salvelinus namaycush) and populations of other valuable commercial fishes in the lakes.

Control of invasive sea lamprey remains a critical component of fisheries management in the Great Lakes and is required for the conservation of highly valued, and in some cases, severely depressed, fish stocks.

Since the 1950s, a variety of control methods have been implemented to reduce the sea lamprey population. The most successful and primary control method is the treatment of tributaries with the lampricide TFM (3-trifluoromethyl-4-nitrophenol).

TFM targets larval sea lampreys buried in the streambed with little effect on most other fish species. A typical stream treatment last 12 hours at any given point along the length of a stream to ensure 9 hour of exposure at lampricide levels required to kill larvae.


Conneaut Creek is a moderate producer of sea lampreys and has 52 miles of infested water. The stream has been treated 8 times between 1986 and 2009. The 2013 treatment will originate in Pennsylvania at Fish Road and end in Ohio at the mouth of the stream.

Grand River is a moderate producer of sea lampreys and has about 32 miles of infested water.

The stream has been treated 6 times between 1987 and 2009. The 2013 treatment application site (AP) will be at or just below Harpersfield Dam and the treatment will end at the stream mouth.

Conneaut Creek is typically a two-day treatment and the Grand River a one-day treatment. However, the duration of both treatments is dependent upon stream discharge.

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