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Sea Lampreys Queen Elizabeth Pie

Sea Lampreys Queen Elizabeth Pie, Sea Lampreys from Great Lakes Destined for Queen Pie (Britain's Queen Elizabeth II): A few invasive sea lampreys from the U.S. Great Lakes have been shipped to England for use in a traditional pie for Queen Elizabeth II.

The Detroit Free Press newspaper reports that the City of Gloucester requested the eel-like creatures because they’re a protected species in England. The pie is for June’s Diamond Jubilee, the 60th anniversary of the queen’s ascent to the throne.

The city has given the pie as a gift to the monarch since the Middle Ages. Great Lakes Fishery Commission spokesman Marc Gaden shipped 2 (.9 kilograms) pounds of frozen lamprey. He says officials “would prefer to send them truckloads.”

Sea lampreys
The sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) is a parasitic lamprey found on the Atlantic coasts of Europe and North America, in the western Mediterranean Sea, and in the Great Lakes. It is brown, gray, or black on its back and white or gray on the underside and can grow up to 90 cm (35.5 in) long. Sea lampreys prey on a wide variety of fish.

The lamprey uses its suction-cup like mouth to attach itself to the skin of a fish and rasps away tissue with its sharp probing tongue and teeth. Secretions in the lamprey's mouth prevent the victim's blood from clotting. Victims typically die from excessive blood loss or infection.

Sea lampreys are considered a pest in the Great Lakes region. The species is native to the inland Finger Lakes and Lake Champlain in New York and Vermont. It is not clear whether it is native to Lake Ontario where it was first noticed in the 1830s, or whether it was introduced through the Erie Canal which opened in 1825.

It is thought that improvements to the Welland Canal in 1919 allowed its spread from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie, and while it was never abundant in either lake, it soon spread to Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Superior, where it decimated indigenous fish populations in the 1930s and 1940s.

They have created a problem with their aggressive parasitism on key predator species and game fish, such as lake trout, lake whitefish, chub, and lake herring. Elimination of these predators allowed the alewife, another invasive species, to explode in population, having adverse effects on many native fish species.

The lake trout plays a vital role in the Lake Superior ecosystem. The lake trout is considered an apex predator which means that the entire system relies on its presence to be diverse and healthy. With the removal of an apex predator from a system, the entire system is affected.

The sea lamprey is an aggressive predator by nature which gives it a competitive advantage in a lake system where it has no predators and its prey lacks defenses against it. The sea lamprey played a large role in the destruction of the Lake Superior lake trout population.

Lamprey introduction along with poor unsustainable fishing practices caused the lake trout populations to decline drastically. This resulted in the relationship between predators and prey in the Great Lakes' ecosystem became unbalanced.

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