VTF&W: Lamprey important to Connecticut River ecosystem

While sea lamprey are a problem in Lake Champlain, they are not a problem in all bodies of water.
Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 5:27 AM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Vt. (WCAX) - While sea lamprey are a nuisance species in Lake Champlain, they are native to the Connecticut River watershed, and Vermont wildlife officials want to protect them.

The Vermont Fish & Wildlife Department is reminding people to avoid disturbing spawning sea lamprey that may currently be found in the Connecticut River and several of its tributaries including the West, Williams, Black, and White Rivers.

“If you happen to see a spawning sea lamprey or a lamprey carcass, don’t be alarmed,” the department’s Lael Will said in a statement. “The fish provide a number of important ecological benefits and are considered a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in both Vermont and New Hampshire.”

Biologists say Vermont is home to a separate population of sea lamprey that are actively controlled as a nuisance species. But experts say they are native to the Connecticut River basin and play a vital role in the ecosystem there.