Sea lampreys invaded the Great Lakes through shipping canals in the early 20th century and quickly became, and remain, the most destructive invasive species in the Great Lakes, killing six-out-of-seven fish they attack.
Sea lampreys use their lethal mouth to bore a hole through the side of fish and feed off of the fish’s blood and bodily fluids. Each sea lamprey kills up to 18kgs (40lbs) of fish in twelve to eighteen months causing significant ecosystem disruptions and threatening the $7 billion Great Lakes’ fishery.
Today, control has knocked back sea lamprey populations by 90 percent. Control of sea lamprey has been on-going since 1958, conducted by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission and its partners, Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, who treat streams where sea lampreys live as larvae before they prey on fish in the open lake. Without sea lamprey control, Canada and the U.S. would not have the fishery we enjoy today.
The sea lamprey booth is sponsored by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. Visitors to the booth can get information about sea lampreys and sea lamprey control and other free materials for kids and adults.