Clock ticks on salmon fix

Experts say a rock slide that created a five-metre waterfall on the Fraser River is a significant problem that could spell disaster for B.C.'s threatened salmon populations.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans says the waterfall is blocking most chinook salmon in the river from migrating upstream to spawn, and a number of other populations are expected later in the summer.

Aaron Hill, executive director of Watershed Watch Salmon Society, says several of the populations that use the river are already in peril and their numbers would severely decline if they are unable to spawn.

He notes the obstruction near Big Bar is fairly low down on the long and winding river, so it's affecting a large part of the Fraser watershed and major tributaries.

Vincent Bryan, an innovator behind a possible solution known as the 'salmon cannon,' says the problem is urgent because fish will start arriving en masse in August and by the middle of that month there will be a million or more sockeye backed up.

Bryan's company, Whooshh Innovations, has created a flexible, pressurized tube that moves fish over obstructions and he's been at the rock slide site assessing how the system could work there.

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