Waterways Near Detroit/Windsor the Only Ones Still Fighting Sea Lamprey

Fish killing parasite is under control in most other Michigan waterways


Scientists with the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service are getting ready to assess whether efforts to eradicate a fish-killing parasite in the Detroit River are working. For many decades the non-native sea lamprey devastated certain fish stocks in the Great Lakes, including Lake Sturgeon. The worm-like bloodsucker attaches itself to fish and ultimately weakens and kills its host. Scott Grunder is with the U-S Fish and Wildlife Service. He says Lake Saint Clair…the Detroit River and Lake Erie are the only places that still have annual assessment levels showing far too many sea lamprey present to have healthy fish populations.

“So the adult index target for Lake Erie is 3039 fish. So that’s what we would like to see in Lake Erie. We believe with that we can provide an excellent fishery”

Grunder says using a chemical has allowed near eradication of sea lampreys in the Great Lakes, except for Lake Saint Clair, the Detroit River, Lake Erie and its tributaries, which he says are too big for effective chemical treatment. The annual sea lamprey assessment begins next week.




  • Amy Miller
    Amy has been working in public and commercial radio for the last 30 yrs. She is an award winning reporter and news anchor, born and raised in Detroit.