Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

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

April 24, 2021

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.

Publication Year 2021
Title Trade-offs between suppression and eradication of sea lampreys from the Great Lake
DOI 10.1016/j.jglr.2021.04.005
Authors Jean V. Adams, Oana Birceanu, W. Lindsay Chadderton, Michael L. Jones, Jesse M. Lepak, Titus S Selheimer, Todd B. Steeves, W. Paul Sullivan, Jill Wingfield
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Journal of Great Lakes Research
Index ID 70220196
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Great Lakes Science Center