Vermont Suspends Lampricide Program - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vermont Suspends Lampricide Program

Waterbury, Vermont - September 23, 2003

Bob Skowronski is a fly guy. He sells flys, ties flys and above all - loves to fish with flys. But he says the fly business is not flying along. He has noticed fewer anglers interested in fishing in Vermont because of parasites called lampreys.

The eel like creatures latch on and kill fish. To try to control the population Vermont and New York started treating streams with a chemical called lampricide. New York started treating again this year - and Vermont was set to start next month - when the plan hit a snag.

Fish and Wildlife Commission Wayne Laroche says he was surprised when two other state departments - Agriculture and Health both expressed concerns about the lampricide. It is a new chemical mixture from last year - and the health department required new tests on it to make sure there is no human health effect - and the ag department says the label is not specific enough.

"There's always the possibility of the perception that someone is dragging their feet - but we're not," says Laroche.

Because Vermont is waiting for the test results and a new label treatment will be pushed back one year. In the meantime New York is already using the new chemical.

"They're permitting procedure is different then ours in Vermont - which is more restrictive with the permitting process," says Laroche. "What we need is a balance and we're not getting a balance."

Next year's planned treatment is no consolation to Bob Skowronski. He is sick of luring in lamprey - so he's picking up his rod and moving to other lakes to try to land a big one.

"I'm not going to fish there I don't have the time to fish where there isn't going to be good fishing," says Skowronski.

The state is hoping other anglers won't make the same decision. Officials estimate the fishing industry brings in about 130 million dollars to Vermont each year. One reason why they're hoping to continue the chemical treatment to kill lamprey.

We called the Clinton County Health Department. They referred us to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. No one from that agency has returned our call.

Kristin Carlson - Channel 3 News

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