In commercial freshwater aquaculture where salmon welfare is paramount, hydroelectric dams can prove detrimental to passage past dams of fish, particularly those listed as threatened or endangered.
A floating selective fish passage system.
In 2011, Vincent Bryan III or “Vince 3”, a lifelong sports fisherman of Mercer Island, Washington was field-testing Whooshh, his firm’s fruit harvester to mechanically harvest and sort tree fruit and like objects.
One afternoon, Vince 3 observed helicopters flying overhead with large buckets, moving migratory salmon over a dam. Later, he observed a citrus grove in California that had been alive with 50-year-old trees the year before, but 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 Vince 3 had learned about in grade school was now in conflict with agriculture, his own sense of the changing environment, and his passion for fish and fishing.
What would happen if he modified Whooshh into a floating selective fish passage system for entry and exit which would work at dams of every height, while at the same time accelerating recovery, restoring natural habitat and limiting CO₂?
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.
From 2013, Whooshh 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. They developed a whole range: Fishway, FishFaucet, FishL Recognition, GateKeeper, Burst Buster and Whooshh Migrator.
Today Whooshhh 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. In 2014, they were used to transport tilapia up and over the dams blocking the Columbia river.
Working together with Whooshhh Innovations, the Confederated Tribes of the Colville Reservation, the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, NOAA’s National Marine Fisheries Service, the US Fish & Wildlife Service and the US Army Corps of Engineers, all necessary permits were issued to deploy the Whooshhh Passage Portal just below Chief Joseph dam during the 2019 Summer and Fall Chinook salmon runs.
Whooshh helped to move thousands of spawning salmon that had been trapped on the Fraser River by a rockslide north of Lillooet. For the millions of fish, the Whooshh’s salmon cannon, spanning 1,700 ft (515 m) was able to move 50,000 fish per day.
Discover Solution 154: Monitoring illegal fishing
Support 366solutions on Patreon and receive the ‘366solutions Insider Newsletter’ with updates on the monthly progress and successes of published solutions.