An Operating Model for the Integrated Pest Management of Great Lakes Sea Lampreys

Michael L. Jones1, *, Brian J. Irwin1, Gretchen J. A. Hansen1, 2, Heather A. Dawson1, 3, Andrew J. Treble1, 4, Weihai Liu1, Wenjing Dai1, 5, James R. Bence1
1 Quantitative Fisheries Center, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, 13 Natural Resources Building, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA
2 Current address: Center for Limnology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 680 North Park Street, Madison, WI 53706, USA
3 Current address: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Marquette Biological Station, 3090 Wright Street, Marquette, MI 49855, USA
4 Current address: Department of Fisheries and Oceans, Sea Lamprey Control Centre, 1 Canal Drive, Sault Ste. Marie, ON P6A 6W4, Canada
5 Current address: Integrated Healthcare Solutions, 13925 Ballantyne Corporate Place, Charlotte, NC 28277, USA

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© 2009 L. Jones et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Quantitative Fisheries Center, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, 13 Natural Resources Building, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824, USA; 517-432-0465; Fax: 517-432-1699; E-mail:


Models of entire managed systems, known as operating models or management strategy evaluation (MSE) models, have been developed in recent years to more fully account for uncertainty in multiple steps of fishery management. Here we describe an operating model of sea lamprey management in the Great Lakes and use the model to compare alternative management strategies for sea lamprey control in Lake Michigan. Control of sea lampreys is mainly achieved through the application of chemical lampricides that target stream-dwelling larvae before they become parasites. The operating model simulated uncertainty due to process variation in larval population dynamics, the accuracy of population assessments used to direct selection of areas to be chemically treated, and the effectiveness of these treatments. We used the operating model to compare the performance of stream selection strategies that either rely on assessments to direct chemical treatments or eliminate the assessment process altogether by relying on prior but uncertain knowledge of stream-level sea lamprey growth rates to specify a fixed schedule for chemical treatments. The fixed schedule strategy led to a modest improvement in expected suppression of parasitic sea lamprey abundance over the assessment-based strategy so long as assessment cost savings were allocated to chemical treatment when assessment was not used to select streams for treatment. We also evaluated the sensitivity of the assessment-based strategy to differing but plausible levels of assessment uncertainty. A moderate reduction in assessment uncertainty led to a large increase in suppression of parasitic sea lamprey abundance for the assessment-based selection strategy, emphasizing the importance of both accurately measuring and reducing assessment uncertainty.