Video shows 'salmon cannon' used to help fish move upstream

Industrial advances have made it harder for fish to make the journey
  • @kashmiragander

A mind-boggling video has emerged online showcasing a so-called ‘salmon cannon’, invented to help fish struggling to swim upstream to spawn.

Industrial advances, such as hydroelectric dams, and general environmental damage have made it trickier for salmon to make the journey upriver to their spawning grounds.

Wildlife departments and public bodies have been known to transport salmon by lorry, load them onto barges, and in a few cases, send them into the water by helicopter.

Now, a company which specialises in transporting livestock and perishable products, like fruit, has invented a cannon which launches fish into the air, and into upstream water.

The tubes, which can shoot 40 fish a minute, can also be used by farmers to move their stock. Whoosh Innovations, who made the system, stress that their invention doesn’t harm the creatures, as it is quick and gentle.

A Whooshh system is currently being tested for live fish passage at the Roza Dam hatchery facility on the Yakima River in Washington State where salmon migration is blocked by dams. 

Videos of the product in action shows huge fish soaring from lengthy tubes which resemble a fish-friendly water slides. The creatures then elegantly sail mid-air, before splashing into water and swimming away unharmed.

The idea came about five years ago as Washington State debated how to help Salmon migrations. Whoosh’s vice president Todd Deligan decided to try and harness the power of their apple transporting tubes, which happened to shoot apples into the air without causing damage.

“So we put a tilapia in the fruit tube,” says Deligan told The Verge “It went flying, and we were like, ‘Huh, check that out.'”