Setting and tracking suppression targets for sea lampreys in the Great Lakes

Journal of Great Lakes Research
By: , and 



In response to invasive species, the course of action taken by management agencies often evolves over a range of options from a do-nothing approach to suppression to complete eradication. As a case study of suppression targets, we explore the history of approaches used by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission in response to the invasion of the Laurentian Great Lakes by sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus). With the early realization that eradication was not possible using available techniques, focus shifted to suppression of sea lampreys to support fish community objectives for the lakes. As a surrogate for damage to the fishery, a suppression target was defined for the maximum acceptable marking rate, indicated by the average number of sea lamprey wounds observed on every 100 large lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush) surveyed. Historic marking rates were used to delineate time periods of acceptable sea lamprey predation levels as an approximate measure of sea lamprey-induced mortality. A second target, independent of lake trout population status, was based on the average sea lamprey abundance estimated during the specified time periods. These intuitive targets have served as suppression benchmarks for the Sea Lamprey Control Program in the Great Lakes, allowing decision makers to gauge progress towards targets, refine control strategies and prioritize geographic areas for increased control effort. Here we document the development and subsequent changes to targets, summarize the methods used to implement these changes, and provide considerations for the future.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Setting and tracking suppression targets for sea lampreys in the Great Lakes
Series title Journal of Great Lakes Research
DOI 10.1016/j.jglr.2021.10.007
Edition Online First
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Country Canada, United States
Other Geospatial Great Lakes
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