Ann Arbor, MI – According to the latest evaluation of Sea Lamprey populations from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission (GLFC), the fish-killing specie drop at its lowest level in the Great Lakes since 1985.

This new information about Sea Lamprey lack of abundance is outstanding news. “Sea lampreys are at their lowest levels in Lakes Huron and Michigan since 1985 and 1995, respectively. Also, after being too high in Lake Ontario for about ten years, Sea Lampreys are now below target levels in that lake.” said Dr.Robert Hecky, the commission’s chairman, as reported by Up North Live.

The Lamprey is a dangerous sea-animal that feeds from a wide variety of fish. The parasitic Lamprey specie uses its suction-cup mouth and sharp teeth to attach itself to the skin of a fish. It also scratches away the fish tissue with its fearful sharp, probing tongue and keratinized teeth.

Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). Image: NOAA

It is estimated that in their lifetime, Lampreys can kill up to 40 pounds of fish. In addition, the secretion in the Lamprey’s mouth prevent the victim’s blood from clotting. Victims usually die from excessive blood loss or infection.

The GLFC says about Lampreys “is one of the worst human-caused ecological disasters ever inflicted upon the Great Lakes.”


Before the GLFC established control strategies, Lampreys tended to kill nearly 103 million pounds of fish per year. Now, according to the annual surveys, the number is below 10 million pounds. Without Sea Lamprey control, the fishery would suffer relevant ecological and economic injuries.

“Sea Lamprey control is worth the effort and is the foundation of the fishery we enjoy today. Before control, Sea Lampreys caused major economic and ecological harm. Today, fish communities are on the rebound and the fishery is worth $7 billion annually to the people of Canada and the United States.” said Hecky.

The GLFC announced that Lake Huron’s Lamprey population has fallen 85 percent since the early 1990. “The population is estimated at 80,000 in Lake Superior, 27,000 in Lake Michigan, 24,000 in Lake Ontario and 10,000 in Lake Erie.” said Marc Garden, a spokesman from the commission. CBS Minnesota reported.

On the other hand, the GLFC stated that they still have work to do in Lakes Superior and Erie, but Sea Lampreys are on a steady downward trend. “We will always work aggressively to reach out targets in all lakes.” as it reads in the paper.

Source: The Great Lakes Fishery Commission