Viral 'Salmon Cannon' video puts Seattle company in spotlight

As a worldwide forum to save wild salmon begins in Seattle, an area company believes it has the answer and is reeling from all the attention.

The so-called Salmon Cannon has evolved in its mission to help fish navigate their way over dams.

Four years ago, Whooshh Innovations built a prototype machine that sent salmon gliding through a tube to spawning grounds in a matter of seconds.

Company video shows the salmon traveling at 22 mph and plunging into the water. Last week, that video resurfaced and went viral on Twitter.

"It looks comical because it's totally unexpected," said Whooshh Innovations CEO Vince Bryan.

Today, the new technology is called, the Passage Portal and allows fish to swim in on their own. Fish are scanned, sorted and gently sent on their way without a human being ever touching them.

The sorting allows for fish to be separated from predators and nonnative species. "For the fish, it actually doesn't feel any different from when they're in the water. They're not stressed at all in there," said Bryan.

In Washington, a Passage Portal is installed at the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, and the Yakima, Puyallup and Colville tribes are embracing the technology.

"The ladders and the lifts and trap and haul are things that have been around for nearly 100 years. We're doing more of the same and not getting results," said Bryan.

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