Trade-offs between suppression and eradication of sea lampreys from the Great Lake

Journal of Great Lakes Research
By: , and 



Ecosystem managers confronted with newly invasive species may respond with a program of suppression or eradication. Suppression of an invasive species refers to management of a species such that its effect on other biota in the local ecosystem is acceptable. Eradication is the removal of all individuals of a species from a defined region. We examine the cost and benefit trade-offs between suppression and eradication of Laurentian Great Lakes sea lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) based on discussions at the 3rd Sea Lamprey International Symposium (held in 2019). Substantial effort has been expended annually since the 1960s to suppress sea lampreys in the Great Lakes basin. Choosing between suppression and eradication is a value judgement, ideally made jointly by scientists, decision-makers, stakeholders, and society. Successful large-scale eradications have been limited to a small number of cases for which the cost to human society justified and supported the long-term commitment necessary for success. The greatest challenge to successful eradication of sea lampreys from the Great Lakes may be a suitable social, political, legal, and institutional environment. Preparations could be made now for a transition in which public pushback on current control methods (pesticide applications and barriers to fish passage) leads to more extensive use of an alternative control method, such as genetic control.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Trade-offs between suppression and eradication of sea lampreys from the Great Lake
Series title Journal of Great Lakes Research
DOI 10.1016/j.jglr.2021.04.005
Volume 47
Issue Suppl 1
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
Description 14 p.
First page S782
Last page S795
Country Canada, United States
Other Geospatial Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence River areas
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