The development and implementation of a strategy for control of sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) in the St. Marys River formed the basis for rehabilitation of lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) and other fish in Lakes Huron and Michigan. The control strategy was implemented by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC) upon recommendations by the interagency Sea Lamprey Integration Committee, and many managers and scientists from United States and Canada federal, state, provincial, tribal, and private institutions. Analyses of benefits vs. costs of control options and modeling of the cumulative effects on abundance of parasitic-phase sea lampreys and lake trout produced a strategy that involved an integration of control technologies that included long- and short-term measures. The long-term measures included interference with sea lamprey reproduction by the trapping and removal of spawning-phase sea lampreys from the river and the sterilization and release of the trapped male sea lampreys. The theoretical reduction of larvae produced in the river from these two combined techniques averaged almost 90% during 1997 to 1999. Lampricide treatment with granular Bayluscide of 880 ha of plots densely populated with larvae occurred during 1998, 1999, and 2001 because modeling showed the sooner parasitic-phase sea lamprey populations declined in Lake Huron the greater the improvement for restoration of lake trout during 1995 to 2015. Post-treatment assessments showed about 55% of the larvae had been removed from the river. An adaptive assessment plan predicted high probability of detection of control effects because of many available indicators. The GLFC will face several critical decisions beyond 2001, and initiated a decision analysis project to aid in those decisions.
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Development and implementation of an integrated program for control of sea lampreys in the St. Marys River