Friday, June 3, 2011

Lamprey Release into the St. Marys River

  Last night we were having a leisurely late dinner at Clyde's Drive-in.  After a day of working in the yard, it sounded like a fun way to end our day.  Just as we finished eating a tank truck pulled in and backed down a ramp to the river.   The young man was very open to our questions and even let me climb up on the truck to take pictures of the tanks full of lamprey.
 He offered to let me hold one and I passed on the offer but now I'm sorry that I didn't hold it because I'll probably never have an opportunity to do that again.

The lamprey are sterilized males who are released into the water for population control.  At this phase in the lampreys' life they spawn and then die.  They do not seek out fish to attach themselves to.

 If you look closely in these photos, you can see the lamprey swimming away from the hose.  Lamprey are very fast swimmers which is how they catch other fish to attach to.  The young man, (I didn't get his name) explained that lamprey are actually a species of fish.

 You can read about the lamprey problem in the St. Marys River at several web sites.

Lamprey Control in the St. Marys River

Lamprey Control Fact Sheet

Here is an explanation of the program that we saw in action last night.

SUCCESS. Male sea lampreys are trapped, sterilized,
and released into the St. Marys River. The
sterilized males compete as aggressively as normal
males, wasting the spawning potential of female sea
lampreys. The sterile-male-release-technique reduces
sea lamprey spawning success over the long-term.

No comments: