Wednesday, February 1, 2023
Feb. 1, 2023

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Off Beat: Salmon cannon generates interest all around the globe

By , Columbian Transportation & Environment Reporter

After years of working in relative obscurity, Vince Bryan admits even he’s been surprised by the attention his company is now getting.

Bryan is CEO of Bellevue-based Whooshh Innovations, which developed the “salmon cannon” now being used to transport migratory fish in Washington. Interest in the device has also put the spotlight on Clark County, where one of the few such systems in existence was used this year on the Washougal River.

The salmon cannon was the subject of a Columbian article in September. But this newspaper is among “hundreds” of media outlets that made inquiries in recent months, Bryan said.

Among the dozens of others who have featured the device are The Times of London, Time magazine, The Huffington Post, ABC News, CBS News and Fox News. Many of those pieces focused on the Washougal River, where the Department of Fish and Wildlife used the device to load fish into trucks for its hatchery program.

Several local and regional media outlets have also taken notice. Others are far outside the Northwest — Whooshh and the salmon cannon were highlighted by a South African news organization, and Canada’s Global News featured it earlier this month. Other inquiries have come from Australia, Japan and Germany, Bryan said.

The device even received a nod on “The Tonight Show,” which host Jimmy Fallon managed to turn into a joke about marijuana being legal in Washington.

The salmon cannon uses a vacuum-like tube to move fish from one end of the system to the other. The version set up on the Washougal River sent fish through a 120-foot conduit in only four to six seconds. Whooshh adapted the salmon cannon technology from its earlier products used for transporting fruit.

Even better for the company, all of the recent attention has translated into inquiries from potential users looking to purchase their own version of the device, Bryan said.

“It was a nice boost because it says one thing, that people care a lot about the fish, and two, that there really is a need,” Bryan said.

Off Beat lets members of The Columbian news team step back from our newspaper beats to write the story behind the story, fill in the story or just tell a story.

Columbian Transportation & Environment Reporter