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Scientists plan new type of attack against sea lampreys

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NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
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Creative Commons

Sea lampreys have devastated Michigan waters for decades. But now, scientists hope that sterilizing some males will help control the population.

Marc Gaden is with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission.

"The goal is to overwhelm the lampreys, to have the sterilized males out-compete the fertile males, and reduce spawning in that system to the bare minimum," Gaden said.

According to scientists, the invasive species has the ability to wipe out native life.

"Before lampreys were brought under control in the 1950s, they killed about 100 million pounds of fish every year in the Great Lakes," Gaden said.

The project is planned for the Pigeon, Sturgeon, and Maple rivers in Michigan. If the program is successful, Gaden said it may be expanded to other parts of Michigan. 

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