What Is Lampricide?
Chemicals in the Great Lake Environment
The lampreys are being targeted by lampricide to stop their growth before they become adults. TFM is a chemical. It is effective in that it does not harm other fish, but lampricide can be problematic for mudpuppies which share the same habitats. The sturgeon in the Great Lakes is sensitive to chemicals such as TFM.
Assessment of the tributaries for lampricide application
TFM is the more widely used lampricide and is applied in liquid form at a precise concentration to treat the tributaries. TFM affects energy metabolism in the larvae. Sea lampreys have low levels of the enzymes used to eliminate TFM from their bodies which leads to their death.
Most organisms are unaffected by TFM. The sea lamprey abundance and distribution is determined by the assessment surveys conducted in the tributaries. Larvae are usually found in the infested areas of each of the other tributary.
Sampling is done to understand the chemical and physical conditions of the tributary before a lampricide treatment. Treatment effectiveness is influenced by stream discharge, temperature, pH, and alkalinity. When necessary, the concentration of lampricide is adjusted to ensure the best results and environmental safety.
The success of sea lamprey control
The sea lamprey is a destructive species. Sea lampreys have wreaked significant economic damage, harmed the fishery and changed the way of life in the region since entering Lake Ontario in the mid- 1800s. Sea lampreys are the only invader that is controlled basin-wide and is the only example of a successful aquatic pest control program.
Sea lampreys are vulnerable to capture when they move into tributaries to breed or when they move out of the tributaries to catch fish. Up to 40% of the adult population can be captured from a tributary by building adult traps immediately downstream of sea lamprey barriers. Unfortunately, traps don't usually capture enough adults to eliminate reproduction or the need for lampricide treatments.
trapping provides a critical way to assess adult populations and gauge the success of the sea lamprey control program There are juvenile traps that target sea lampreys before they kill fish. Sea lamprey control is a major contributor to the Great Lakes fishery.
Sea lampreys are strong. Control is relaxed for a short time and they bounce back with vengeance. The fishery and the ecology are at risk due to elevated sea lamprey abundances.