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Wednesday, January 31 • 9:40am - 10:00am
SYMPOSIA-14: Collaborative Multi-jurisdictional Aquatic Invasive Species Control

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AUTHORS. Dale Burkett, Great Lakes Fishery Commission

ABSTRACT. Sea lampreys, invasive fish in the Great Lakes, but native to the Atlantic Ocean, were observed in Lake Ontario as early as 1835. During the early 1900s improvements to the Welland Canal allowed sea lampreys access to the rest of the Great Lakes. By the late 1930s, the invasion was complete and the devastation began with each sea lamprey being capable of killing 40 pounds of fish like lake trout, whitefish, salmon, and burbot. The sea lamprey invasion upset the balance of the ecosystem, wiping out top fish predators and allowing other invasive species, such as alewife, to dominate. Fishery management agencies and governments realized that coordinating a response among two countries, eight states, one province, and several tribal authorities that shared the Great Lakes was almost impossible - there had been no less than 40 attempts to create some mechanism for cross-border fishery management cooperation in the previous sixty years - all of which had failed. The governments of Canada and the United States, through the Convention on Great Lakes Fisheries, established the bi-national Great Lakes Fishery Commission in 1955 charged with three major duties: to coordinate fishery management and research, and to establish and oversee a sea lamprey control program. Today, we deliver highly effective sea lamprey control in an intensely collaborative and cooperative interjurisdictional environment annually expending approximately $20 million US to protect Great Lakes fisheries valued at more than $7 billion. The challenges, trials, tribulations, successes, innovations and constant improvements to this amazingly successful aquatic invasive species control program are shared as learning examples.

Wednesday January 31, 2018 9:40am - 10:00am CST