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'Vampire' eels threaten Great Lakes fish

Courtesy: Wikipeida

Courtesy: Wikipeida


Cheryl Santa Maria
Digital Reporter

Thursday, March 3, 2016, 5:20 PM - The population of an invasive, blood-sucking parasite known as the lamprey eel is rising in Lake Superior after years of consistently low numbers, the CBC reports.

For years, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) has been able to keep the lamprey eel population under control with a chemical that kills larva.

That method is still working in lakes Michigan and Huron, but Alex Gonzalez of USFWS told the CBC officials will need to pay special attention to Lake Superior in the coming months.


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"We are coming back here, to Lake Superior, in 2016. To hit the Lake Superior tributaries very, very, very hard," he said.

The eels have been killing fish in the area, threatening to put the ecosystem out of balance.


Duluth Boat Show/ Flickr


The sea lamprey is native Atlantic Ocean and to the Baltic, western Mediterranean and Adriatic seas. They entered the Great Lakes in the early 20th century through shipping canals.

Today, their population numbers in the Great Lakes can only be controlled via human intervention.

Gonzalez told the CBC an estimated 40,000 to 60,000 lampreys live in Lake Superior. The USFWS is hoping to reduce that number by half once the warmer weather hits.

Source: CBC

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