Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Georgia
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Jones, M. L., T. O. Brenden, and B. J. Irwin. 2015. Re-examination of sea lamprey control policies for the St. Marys River: completion of an adaptive management cycle. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences.


The St. Marys River (SMR) historically has been a major producer of sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) in the Laurentian Great Lakes. In the early 2000s, a decision analysis (DA) project was conducted to evaluate sea lamprey control policies for the SMR; this project suggested that an integrated policy of trapping, sterile male releases, and Bayluscide treatment was the most cost-effective policy. Further, it concluded that formal assessment of larval sea lamprey abundance and distribution in the SMR would be valuable for future evaluation of control strategies. We updated this earlier analysis, adding information from annual larval assessments conducted since 1999 and evaluating additional control policies. Bayluscide treatments continued to be critical for sea lamprey control, but high recruitment compensation minimized the effectiveness of trapping and sterile male release under current feasible ranges. Because Bayluscide control is costly, development of strategies to enhance trapping success remains a priority. This study illustrates benefits of an adaptive management cycle, wherein models inform decisions, are updated based on learning achieved from those decisions, and ultimately inform future decisions.