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Salmon expected to start arriving soon at Fraser River landslide: DFO

Stuart LePage, of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, sprints to place a salmon in a vessel to be lifted by a helicopter and transported up the Fraser River past a massive rock slide near Big Bar, west of Clinton, B.C., on Wednesday July 24, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck.
Stuart LePage, of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, sprints to place a salmon in a vessel to be lifted by a helicopter and transported up the Fraser River past a massive rock slide near Big Bar, west of Clinton, B.C., on Wednesday July 24, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck.

Parts of a pneumatic fish pump, dubbed the salmon cannon, have arrived at the site of a massive landslide along B.C.’s Fraser River, where Fisheries and Oceans Canada expects some salmon to begin arriving soon.

Gwil Roberts, director of the department’s landslide response team, said six 160-metre tubes of different sizes are being suspended along the canyon wall above the river.

READ MORE: Plans underway for ‘salmon cannon’ to help fish clear B.C. landslide

A fish ladder that Roberts said is nearly complete would attract salmon and guid them into a holding pond before they enter the fish pump and tube system that will take them up river to their spawning grounds.

The system is leased from a Seattle-based company and includes a scanner that measures the size of the fish to send them into the appropriate tube.

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Crews continue to work on clearing Big Bar slide
Crews continue to work on clearing Big Bar slide

The largest tube is about 25 centimetres in diameter, Roberts said, and the system is more gentle than the “salmon cannon” label suggests.

He said a deceleration mechanism would slow the salmon down and deposit them gently upstream after the fish have travelled about 20 metres per second for 20 seconds.