The federal government has announced that it will invest an additional $8.7 million to fight sea lamprey in the Great Lakes. The announcement was made Wednesday in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, a week after the United States also said it was increasing its budget for the issue.
Fisheries and Oceans Canada says it is taking great steps to combat one of the worst invasive species of freshwater: sea lamprey.
Since its introduction in the Great Lakes in the 1800s, this jawless fish that feeds on the blood and bodily fluids of other fish causes tremendous ecological and economic damage.
These “Great Lakes vampires” can consume up to 20 pounds of fish in their lifetime.
The Canadian government promises that $8.7 million will be invested over the next five years.
Subsequently, $2.5 million will be allocated annually to control the species, representing a 30% increase in annual funding of $8.1 million.
“Right now, in the sea lamprey control program, we have about 35 people here in Sault Ste. Marie. This investment will build a new team,” said Sen Wang, Science Director for the Central and Arctic Region at Fisheries and Oceans Canada.
The money will also be used to build dams to prevent lamprey from migrating further south, from Lake St. Clair to Lakes Erie and Ontario.
More pesticides will also be used to kill lamprey larvae.
This funding is made public a week after the United States announced it was increasing its sea lamprey budget to invest $28 million.