Wake Up Call

Canadian Lamprey Save Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee

The British monarchy is pretty serious about their blood sucking eel-like fish, otherwise known as lamprey. The city of Gloucester, England, was once fined by King Henry I for failing to "pay him sufficient respect in the matter of his lampern." Another King of England was slain at the "hands" of a "surfeit of lamprey," which is a nice way of saying he ate so many that he got food poisoning and died.

History aside, the city of Gloucester has tried to keep tradition alive by whipping up a mean royal lamprey pie for all of Queen Elizabeth's special occasions, from her coronation to her upcoming Diamond Jubilee. This year, they faced a serious problem, though. While their city was once famous for its quality and quantity of lamprey, pollution and overfishing have severely reduced lamprey numbers until they were declared a protected species. Without a ready supply of lamprey, they were forced to look elsewhere for a source.

Fortunately for Gloucester, the Great Lakes have been plagued by lamprey for decades. Introduced by a burgeoning shipping industry in the 1950s, lamprey have devastated local fish populations and are considered an invasive species. With that in mind it's not surprising that representative from the Great Lake Fishery Commission will happily hand over a crate of the frozen beasties later this week.

So what's lamprey like? This video should give you some perspective:

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Ando Muneno
Contact: Ando Muneno