Press-Republican

Local News

May 15, 2014

Sea lamprey barrier in place

NOTRE-DAME-DE-STANBRIDGE, Quebec — A new, state-of-the-art sea-lamprey barrier is in place in this Quebec community that will help protect Lake Champlain.

The grand opening for the seasonal device is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today, hosted by representatives of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the municipality of Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge, located about 20 miles north of Swanton, Vt.

The agency and Quebec community agreed on an international partnership for the ownership and operation of the lamprey barrier, which was put in place in April.

Costing more than $1.3 million and funded by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, it is designed to capture sea lamprey before they reach their spawning grounds in ruisseau aux Morpions (Morpion Creek), a tributary of the rivière aux Brochets (Pike River). 

"Morpion Creek is home to the largest uncontrolled population of sea lamprey in the basin," Fish and Wildlife said in a press release. 

"Preventing sea lamprey from spawning in Morpion Creek is a long-awaited accomplishment that will further enhance the ever-improving sea lamprey control program in Lake Champlain."

The barrier passively captures sea lamprey and passes non-target aquatic organisms upstream, so no use of pesticides is required, the release said. 

It was designed and implemented according to the environmental requirements of Québec, authorized by the province's Ministry of Sustainable Development, Environment and Parks. 

The sea lamprey, a parasitic fish, spends four years as a blind and toothless larvae before transforming into a juvenile that feeds on the blood of other fish. 

After a year and a half in the lake, they return as adults to rivers, where they spawn. 

The sea lamprey prevents the restoration of native lake trout and Atlantic salmon and severely impacts Lake Champlain’s sport fishery, the press release said.

IF YOU GO

The grand opening for the new sea lamprey barrier is set for 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at 900 Rue Principale, Notre-Dame-de-Stanbridge, Quebec, at the rear of the Town Hall.

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