On YouTube: Control plan set to target creepy parasites along Lake Erie tributaries
Aquatic Invasive Species - News



Filed By: Eileen Buckley for WKBW TV (A Buffalo, NY-based ABC affiliate station)

Buffalo, NY, April 05, 2019 - Blood sucking sea lamprey prey on fish. They continue to be a threat to Great Lakes fish. Sea lamprey feed on fishes' blood and body fluids. Once again, this season, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife will hold a control program and will apply lampricides to Cattaraugus Creek in Cattaraugus and Erie Counties. It will be conducted between April 16 and May 9th.

The applications work to kill the lamprey larvae that are found in streams. The process takes about four days. If the larvae are not killed off it could create significant damage to the Great Lakes fishery.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife said "infested tributaries must be treated every three to five years with lampricides to control sea lamprey populations." The lamprey are a huge threat to Lake Erie. The species can destroy trout and salmon found in colder, deeper water.

But according to the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency and Health Canada Pest Management Regulatory Agency, the lampricides "pose no unreasonable risk to the general population and the environment when applied at concentrations necessary to control larval sea lampreys." The agencies conducted review of human health and environmental safety data. But it is advised the public "use discretion and minimize unnecessary exposure."


The 2011 video above, from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, depicts the sea lamprey.

The lampricide is normally applied in infested tributaries every three to five years to control control sea lamprey populations.

Helen Domske, senior extension specialist with New York Sea Grant, is an expert on lamprey. "But Lake Erie is really, really struggling with Lamprey and you known, the ironic thing, we've cleaned up, and rehabilitated streams and creeks and made them more appealing for them," Domske explained.

Domske stopped by our WKBW studio to show us a jar with a lamprey and larvae. She explained the lampricides was created after 6,000 different chemicals were tested until they found a blend that does not harm the waters. You don't have to worry about lamprey attacking humans.

"I go out to schools all the time and students ask me - you know - 'will it suck onto me - will it draw my blood' - no - we're warm blood and they will only go after cold blooded," Domske stated.

Adult lampreys only live 12 to 18 months, but during their short life span, they'll consume 40 to 60 pound of fish.

More on Aquatic Invasive Species at www.nyseagrant.org/ais, www.nyseagrant.org/watercraftinspection and www.nyis.info.

More Info: New York Sea Grant

New York Sea Grant (NYSG), a cooperative program of Cornell University and the State University of New York (SUNY), is one of 33 university-based programs under the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Sea Grant College Program.

Since 1971, NYSG has represented a statewide network of integrated research, education and extension services promoting coastal community economic vitality, environmental sustainability and citizen awareness and understanding about the State’s marine and Great Lakes resources.

Through NYSG’s efforts, the combined talents of university scientists and extension specialists help develop and transfer science-based information to many coastal user groups—businesses and industries, federal, state and local government decision-makers and agency managers, educators, the media and the interested public.

The program maintains Great Lakes offices at Cornell University, SUNY Buffalo, SUNY Oswego and the Wayne County Cooperative Extension office in Newark. In the State's marine waters, NYSG has offices at Stony Brook University in Long Island, Brooklyn College and Cornell Cooperative Extension in NYC and Kingston in the Hudson Valley.

For updates on Sea Grant activities: www.nyseagrant.org has RSS, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube links. NYSG offers a free e-list sign up via www.nyseagrant.org/nycoastlines for its flagship publication, NY Coastlines/Currents, which is published quarterly. Our program also produces an occasional e-newsletter,"NOAA Sea Grant's Social Media Review," via its blog, www.nyseagrant.org/blog.

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