The commercial harvest of lamprey eels on the lower Yukon wrapped up over the weekend, with just under 37,000 pounds harvested and sold.  That’s 7,000 pounds less than a quota set by the Department of Fish and Game.

The commercial harvest of lamprey brings a welcome infusion of cash to village fishermen during the Christmas season, but the overall health of the lamprey population is a mystery.

Fish and Game managers don’t have a good sense of how many Arctic lamprey return to the Yukon each year, nor how many are reaching their spawning grounds.

A previous attempt to estimate the size of a lamprey run using sonar was not successful, and other research methods are hindered by the fact that lamprey migrate under the cover of ice in the dead of winter.

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