Sex and violence may control sea lamprey

Capital News Service
LANSING — For the first time, researchers have combined the smell of death with the lure of sex to better target a parasitic invader that has feasted on Great Lakes fish for decades. Their target is the sea lamprey, an invasive species that uses its toothy sucker-like mouth to feast on Great Lakes trout, salmon, sturgeon, walleye and whitefish. Before lamprey were managed, they cost the Great Lakes 110 million fish annually. The cost of control is about $20 million a year, saving about 100 million fish annually, said Marc Gaden of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, the agency responsible for managing the sea lamprey. Control today is primarily with a selective pesticide that’s dumped into rivers and streams to kill them.

Scientists to test new sea lamprey control on Michigan streams

Capital News Service
LANSING — If the local river starts to smell like dead sea lamprey, you may be in luck. That smell could be the solution to a long-standing invasive species problem. A new $392,000 Environmental Protection Agency grant will pay for testing sea lamprey repellant on three spawning streams in the state. The project is expected to be completed within 10 years the EPA requires. Sea lamprey are attracted to the smell of their young and repulsed by the stench of their dead, according to Michael Wagner, the lead researcher on the project and an assistant professor of fisheries and wildlife at Michigan State University.