EPA approves lure to help trap invasive sea lampreys

Associated Press

Ann Arbor — For the first time, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved a synthetic sexual lure to help capture sea lampreys in the Great Lakes.

Lampreys are eel-like creatures that invaded the lakes in the last century and severely depleted populations of trout and other native fish. They use suction-cup mouths and razor-sharp teeth to fasten themselves to their prey and suck out body fluids.

Since the 1990s, scientists have been studying how pheromones could be used to attract lampreys to where they can be trapped. Pheromones are scents released by males to draw females to nesting sites.

Government and private researchers developed a synthetic version of the mating pheromone.

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission says during field testing, traps baited with pheromones caught twice as many lampreys as those without.