Evaluating harvest-based control of invasive fish with telemetry: Performance of sea lamprey traps in the Great Lakes

Ecological Applications
By: , and 

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Abstract

Physical removal (e.g., harvest via traps or nets) of mature individuals may be a cost-effective or socially acceptable alternative to chemical control strategies for invasive species, but requires knowledge of the spatial distribution of a population over time. We used acoustic telemetry to determine the current and possible future role of traps to control and assess invasive sea lampreys, Petromyzon marinus, in the St. Marys River, the connecting channel between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. Exploitation rates (i.e., fractions of an adult sea lamprey population removed by traps) at two upstream locations were compared among three years and two points of entry to the system. Telemetry receivers throughout the drainage allowed trap performance (exploitation rate) to be partitioned into two components: proportion of migrating sea lampreys that visited trap sites (availability) and proportion of available sea lampreys that were caught by traps (local trap efficiency). Estimated exploitation rates were well below those needed to provide population control in the absence of lampricides and were limited by availability and local trap efficiency. Local trap efficiency estimates for acoustic-tagged sea lampreys were lower than analogous estimates regularly obtained using traditional mark–recapture methods, suggesting that abundance had been previously underestimated. Results suggested major changes would be required to substantially increase catch, including improvements to existing traps, installation of new traps, or other modifications to attract and retain more sea lampreys. This case study also shows how bias associated with telemetry tags can be estimated and incorporated in models to improve inferences about parameters that are directly relevant to fishery management.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Evaluating harvest-based control of invasive fish with telemetry: Performance of sea lamprey traps in the Great Lakes
Series title Ecological Applications
DOI 10.1890/15-2251.1
Volume 26
Issue 6
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Ecological Society of America
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 15 p.
First page 1595
Last page 1609
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