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A proof-of-concept test of selective removal of sea lamprey via behavioral guidance in a model fishway

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission monitors and/or maintains >1000 barriers in watersheds draining to the Great Lakes for the purpose of restricting sea lamprey access to spawning habitat. Although a critical aspect of sea lamprey control, growing concern over the impacts of bi-directional blockage on native fishes has prompted considerable interest in the retrofitting of existing barriers with fish passage devices (per GLRI Action Plan II). The best design for a sea lamprey-blocking fishway will have two features: (1) the ability to entrain and selectively remove migrating sea lamprey whilst (2) passing native and desirable fishes, an approach we term ‘Pass-and-Trap’. Behavioral differences between anguilliform lamprey and fusiform fishes may allow for such a design. Specifically, recent evidence suggests a channel equipped with a vertical-slot fishway and emitting a natural repellent may block sea lamprey and allow natives to pass, whereas an adjacent channel equipped with an eel-ladder and trap may capture sea lamprey whilst blocking native fishes – effectively removing sea lamprey from the fishes moving through the fishway without manual sorting. We will test the viability of this design in a two-channel model fishway. Our test designs will be informed by lessons-learned from detailed examination of successes and failures to pass migrating lampreys through European fishways and attempts to capture them in traps with eel-ladders in the Great Lakes. The results will be used to develop design criteria to retrofit existing fish passage devices at sea lamprey barriers into ‘Pass-and-Trap’ designs.

In progress
Start Date
End Date
Scope of Study
Laboratory Investigation
Scale of Phenomena
Impact of Pollutants
Exotic Species
Natural Ecological Processes
Resource Management
Lake Basin Connecting Channels
Lake Superior
State Province
Biology And Life History
Parasites and Diseases
Control And Mitigation
Biological Interactions (Predator/Prey)
Ecosystem Effects
Predator / Prey Interactions
Socio-economic Consideration and Analysis
Resource Management Issues
Aquatic Nuisance Species

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