Concerns raised over presence of sea lamprey

Oct 6, 2015

An effort is underway to eliminate an invasive species in Cayuga Creek before it migrates to Lake Erie.

Lake Erie in downtown Buffalo.
Credit WBFO News file photo

Scott Grunder with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said sea lamprey have been a scourge to Great Lakes fisheries. Grunder says the eel-like fish have a sharp tongue and teeth.

"Their mouth acts like a vacuum cleaner or a suction cup. They just attach themselves to a fish," Grounder explained.

"Then, their raspy tongue works its way against the flesh of the fish and basically bores a hole in it and then they feed on the blood and body fluids of the fish."

The government has used lampricides to control the species  for nearly 60 years.

Grunder said the chemicals kill more than 90 percent of juvenile sea lamprey in a stream but pose no risk to humans.