Sea Lamprey Discovered in NY Waterways

Two sea lamprey attached to the side of a lake trout. Public Domain, wikimedia.org

Two sea lamprey attached to the side of a lake trout. Public Domain, wikimedia.org

     Sea lamprey larvae has been found in the Cattaraugus and Canadaway creeks in Chautauqua, Cattaraugus and Erie counties. Relatively harmless in their larval state, once mature the lampreys use the teeth on their tongues to rasp holes into and suck the blood of fish, eventually killing the host. Every 18 months, one adult lamprey can kill 40 pounds of fish.

     "The sea lampreys destroy all types of fish that we want, the lake trout, the whitefish, the cisco, salmon, steelhead, anything that they can get," said Timothy Sullivan, a treatment supervisor with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

     Using a chemical called TFM, a lampricide, the Service hopes to eradicate the larvae before they mature and move into the Great Lakes.

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