Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Fisheries and Oceans Canada

June 09, 2016 13:33 ET

Taking Action to Protect the Great Lakes

The Government of Canada increases funding to the Sea Lamprey Control Program

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - June 9, 2016) - On behalf of the Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Intergovernmental Affairs), announced today at the Annual Meeting of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, that the Government of Canada is making an investment in new infrastructure to help prevent the spread of invasive Sea Lamprey in the Great Lakes and their tributaries.

This additional $8 million investment over two years to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission will contribute to Canada's ongoing commitment to protecting the Great Lakes. This new infrastructure funding will improve physical barriers that prevent Sea Lamprey from accessing suitable spawning and nursery habitats in the upstream reaches of several Great Lakes tributaries.

Sea Lampreys are an incredibly destructive invasive species. Since entering Lake Ontario over 200 years ago, Sea Lampreys have inflicted significant economic damage and harm to the fishery and ecosystem. Canada's Sea Lamprey Control Program (SLCP) uses several techniques to target Sea Lampreys during different stages of the life cycle including lampricides, physical barriers and trapping. The SLCP has been effective in controlling this aggressive and resilient invasive species, and remains critical in restoring balance to the Great Lakes ecosystem.

The investment will be directed towards the maintenance and improvement of low-head physical barriers, as well as the rehabilitation of dams built for other purposes that also serve an important role in Sea Lamprey control.

Quick Facts

  • Sea Lampreys are a parasitic invasive fish that attack and kill other species of fish that support recreational, commercial and indigenous fisheries in the Great Lakes.
  • First introduced in the 1800s, Sea Lampreys are responsible for the almost complete decimation of the Great Lakes fishery by the mid-20th Century.
  • Fisheries and Oceans Canada contributes $8.1 million annually to the Sea Lamprey Control Program. The $8 million announced today is in addition to this ongoing annual funding.
  • The Sea Lamprey Control Program has reduced Sea Lamprey populations by 90 percent in most areas of the Great Lakes.
  • The Great Lakes Fishery Commission was established in 1955 by the Canadian/U.S. Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries. The Commission coordinates fisheries research, controls the invasive Sea Lamprey, and facilitates cooperative fishery management among the state, provincial, tribal, and federal management agencies.

Quotes

"The Great Lakes are an integral part of the economic and cultural make-up of Canada. Our Government is committed to protecting the health of the Great Lakes and the multi-billion dollar fishery. This investment to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission will strengthen our Sea Lamprey control measures and improve the health of the Great Lakes fishery for years to come."

The Honourable Dominic LeBlanc, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard

"The Great Lakes Fishery Commission is an excellent example of how Canada and the United States are working together to support economic prosperity and environmental protection. This new investment will support our efforts to address serious aquatic issues affecting both sides of our shared border."

Adam Vaughan, Parliamentary Secretary to the Prime Minister (Intergovernmental Affairs)

"Critical infrastructure used in the fight against harmful invasive species is deteriorating and putting our $7 billion fishery at risk. We are grateful to the Government of Canada for its pledge of $8 million to repair and replace sea lamprey barriers. Because the fishery depends on sea lamprey control, today's announcement demonstrates the Canadian Government's commitment to a healthy, vibrant Great Lakes. We look forward to continued strong support from the government."

Dr. Robert Hecky, Chair of the Great Lakes Fishery Commission

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Contact Information

  • Media Relations
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    613-990-7537
    Media.xncr@dfo-mpo.gc.ca

    Patricia Bell
    Press Secretary
    Office of the Minister
    Fisheries and Oceans Canada
    613-992-3474