Preserving the Environment

How a Cannon Could Save the Wild Salmon Population

October 15, 2014
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How a Cannon Could Save the Wild Salmon Population
Salmon travel upstream to mate. John O'Sullivan/Flickr
Fish out of water is a good thing here.

The advent of hydroelectric dams has disturbed the crucial upstream migration of wild salmon for years. But a company called Whooshh Innovations aims to change that.

Their Salmon Cannon is derived from technology originally designed to assist apple and pear pickers in Washington’s orchards. The “cannon” is really just a tube lined with a “soft material [that] creates a seal around them, generating a vacuum effect that transports [the fish] through at 11-22 mph.”

Protecting the precious cargo is a system of baffles that keep the salmon from banging into the sides of the tube. The end result — launching the salmon upstream and up to 30 feet in the air — has passed safety tests at multiple sites.

Of course, this isn’t the first human effort at assisting salmon in bypassing manmade river-obstructions in their mating waters. Everything from ladders and elevators to trucks and even helicopters has been tried and proved expensive and inefficient.

Of the cannon, however, Washington’s Dept. of Fish and Wildlife Greg Haldy says, “It’s hard to tell, its early in the year, but it seems to be working way better than what we had in the past, way more efficient and I think it’s more fish-friendly.”

The salmon can be loaded by hand and even have demonstrated a willingness to enter the transport tube on their own.

The company’s very own Todd Deligan sums it up nicely: “Worldwide, there is the need to transport fish, whether they be live or dead, differently and more efficiently.”

From where we’re standing, it doesn’t look like a problem anymore.

[ph]

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