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Lamprey fisheries: history, trends and management

Almeida, P.R. and Arakawa, H. and Aronsuu, K. and Baker, C. and Blair, S-R. and Beaulaton, L. and Belo, A.F. and Kitson, J. and Kucheryavyy, A. and Kynard, B. and Lucas, M.C. and Moser, M. and Potaka, B.M. and Romakkaniemi, A. and Staponkus, R. and Tamarapa, S. and Yanai, S. and Yang, G. and Zhang, T. and Zhuang, P. (2021) 'Lamprey fisheries: history, trends and management.', Journal of Great Lakes Research, 47 (S1). S159-S185.


Three anadromous lamprey species support important commercial fisheries in the northern hemisphere, sea lamprey in the Iberian Peninsula and France, European river lamprey in the Baltic Sea countries and Russia, and Arctic lamprey in Russia. Pacific lamprey, Caspian lamprey, Korean lamprey and pouched lamprey are harvested for subsistence and local commerce on the Pacific coast of North America, and in Russia, China and Oceania, respectively. Habitat loss caused by human activities in rivers have reduced lamprey populations and collapsed most commercial fisheries worldwide. Overfishing is a concern because traditional fishing gears (e.g., pots, fyke nets) target lampreys during their upstream migration, usually in physical bottlenecks, which can result in exceedingly high fishing mortality. The reduction in catches has inflated lamprey prices and encouraged illegal fishing in certain countries (e.g., Portugal, Russia). The success of management actions for lamprey fisheries could be at risk due to knowledge gaps that still exist regarding stock structure, estimates of stage-specific mortality, distribution at sea, preferred hosts, and climate change impacts to the distribution and availability of adequate hosts. There is an urgent need for good-quality data from reported commercial landings and also from monitoring studies regarding the efficacy of mitigation and restoration efforts (e.g., habitat restoration, fishing regulations, artificial rearing and stocking). Involving the general public and stakeholders in the management and conservation of lampreys through outreach actions is crucial to promote the protection of the ecological and cultural values of lampreys and the understanding of their vulnerability.

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Publisher statement:2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of International Association for Great Lakes Research. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Date accepted:19 May 2021
Date deposited:12 July 2021
Date of first online publication:03 July 2021
Date first made open access:12 July 2021

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