Hydroelectric dams act as obstacles for wildlife, especially migrating salmon. The Whooshh Fish Transport System, also known as the “salmon cannon,” gives fish a much-needed boost over dams so they can swim upstream to spawn.
The “salmon cannon”
The Whooshh Fish Transport System, also known as the “salmon cannon,” moves fish through a flexible, pressurized tube, safely transforming them from one area to another.
This solves a major problem for migratory fish like salmon. The system gives fish a boost over dams so they can swim upstream to spawn.
The salmon cannon can be used on any non-dangered fish, according to the U. S. Department of Energy. It can also be used for fish rescue or the removal of invasive species.
The company of Whooshh innovations is working with the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory through the U. S. Department of Energy’s “Small Business Vouchers” pilot to bring this technology to market.
This system can make a big impact on fish transport solutions. In fact, most dams are already designed with fish ladders or elevators, only really old dams don’t have them. However they can get expensive to build and run and, like the video said, also transport non-native species and predators. This is a cheap and efficient alternative.
Whooshh Innovations has its roots in Washington state agriculture. In 2011, while field-testing its fruit harvester to mechanically harvest and sort tree fruit, Whooshh CEO Vincent Bryan III observed helicopters flying overhead with large buckets. They were moving migratory salmon over a dam. Later, returning to a citrus grove in California that was alive with 50 years old trees the year before, was now completely dead. It was explained that the irrigation water that fed the orchard had been diverted to save the salmon.
The wonders of the salmon returning through fish ladders that we learned about in grade school were now in conflict with agriculture, our own sense of the changing environment, and our passion for fish and fishing.
Thinking there had to be a better way to share the water resources, Whooshh began testing their fruit transport tubes on fish. It worked- and it was the “a-ha” moment that caused the Company to pivot from fruit to fish. Whooshh first tested its technology on live fish in 2011, and the technology has undergone numerous independent and peer-reviewed studies.
Since 2013, Whooshh has focused all its energy and resources on developing game-changing fish transport solutions that are economical for its users and for the shared water resources. Today Whooshh solutions are used to transport fish: in processing plants where hygiene is critical and water is expensive; in commercial aquacultures where fish welfare is paramount; and for fish passage past dams, including where many fish are invasive and/or listed as threatened or endangered. Whooshh systems are deployed in the United States and Europe.