Officials say sea lamprey numbers down across Great Lakes

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) – Officials are reporting significant progress in the battle against an invasive, fish-killing Great Lakes parasite.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission says Wednesday the population of sea lampreys has reached a 30-year low in Lake Huron and a 20-year low in Lake Michigan. Numbers also are down in the other lakes, although they remain above target levels in Lakes Superior and Erie.

The sea lamprey is an eel-like creature with a suction-cup mouth that fastens itself to other fish and sucks out their bodily fluids. The average lamprey kills up to 40 pounds of fish.

The fishery commission and other agencies use barriers, traps and a specially devised poison to keep the lamprey population under control.

Spokesman Marc Gaden says increased government funding has enabled agencies to turn the tide.

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