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What’s the ‘Salmon Cannon’ and Why Has It Become Internet’s Latest Obsession

The salmon cannon, created by the Washington-based Whoossh Innovations, is being used since 2011 to help salmon navigate hydroelectric dams.

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Updated:August 19, 2019, 4:46 PM IST
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What’s the ‘Salmon Cannon’ and Why Has It Become Internet’s Latest Obsession
Video grab of a salmon being transported. (Twitter)
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No one loves ingenuity more than the Internet. So when a video of a ‘salmon cannon’ resurfaced online last week, it didn’t take netizens long to picture themselves using a similar invention.

The salmon cannon, created by the Washington-based Whoossh Innovations, is being used since 2011 to help salmon navigate hydroelectric dams.

In fact, John Oliver spoke about it on his show, Last Week Tonight, way back in 2014.

The ‘salmon cannon’, however, went viral recently after a video explaining its functioning was posted on Twitter by Dr.Kash Sirinanda.

The clip, which has been viewed a whopping 26 million times, drew a plethora of reactions from netizens.

Some were even willing to risk their lives for the salmon cannon experience.

While others demanded a similar invention for humans

Vince Bryan III, CEO of Whooshh Innovations and inventor of the Salmon Canon (intentionally spelled with only one “n” to distinguish it from the cannon weapon) told The Guardian that the company’s Whooshh Passage Portal system in a river automates the entire process of getting a fish over a dam.

“In those early videos five years ago you would see people hand-feeding the fish in; today the fish swim into the system on their own. Inside the tubes is a kind of an airlock where we make a small pressure differential to create a force so the fish moves through the tube. And that tube is irrigated, it’s misted on the inside, so the fish is able to breathe, and it’s a frictionless environment,” he was quoted as saying.

He said, "The system actually makes the fish feel as if they’re in the water. And that’s why when they come out the exit they just swim away. They swim in, they slide, they glide, and they swim off. There’s no shock to their system.”

The CEO said “many, many millions” of fish had gone through the cannon.

The company’s name is inspired by the sound fish make as “they fly over the high dams that otherwise may block their upstream migratory routes, preventing them from spawning.”

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