A Washington state-based company has created a fish-launching device — a “salmon cannon” if you will — but its intent is not for the sheer purpose of watching fish fly.
According to Whooshh, the device’s creator, the fish cannon was created to help salmon and other fish overcome man-made obstacles.
The Verge reported that the fish cannon was specifically created to help Chinook salmon in Washington make the leap over hydroelectric dams that were blocking their migratory path.
According to the company’s website, the hope is that the fish cannon is more efficient, faster (up to 40 fish per minute) and more cost-effective than other methods. The company also said it has little to no height and length limitations. The cannon also gives wildlife departments the opportunity to collect data or tag fish as they pass through the system.
See the cannon in action:
The company explained that the fish are not in water while in the device but in air for a few seconds. The pressure per square inch used to shoot the fish also causes “little to no scale loss and no evidence of damage to their eyes.”
What about the possibility of a fish getting stuck? Whoosh said that it hasn’t seen that happen yet with its system because it’s designed to be restrictive at the entrance so fish that are too big to begin with don’t enter the tube at all.
Even the company acknowledges how silly the device can sound though.
“At a talk at the National Hydropower Association, I hit play on the video and the first fish goes flying out, and the audience is dying. I had to say, ‘It’s OK to laugh, this is utterly ridiculous,’” Whooshh President Todd Deligan told the Verge. “Then people start talking and they say, ‘Holy cow, why hadn’t we thought of something like this before?’”