SPOKANE — Over the weekend, a 2014 video of a salmon being shot through a thin, flexible tube went viral.
Memes appeared imagining what the fish were thinking and feeling as they passed through the Salmon Cannon, as the salmon-propelling tube is known.
But, as internet hot flashes do, the excitement died down and the hordes dissipated, leaving a far more interesting — and important — story behind.
The Salmon Cannon, born in the apple fields of Eastern Washington, is a key component of the Colville Confederated Tribes’ plans to reintroduce salmon to the Upper Columbia River and, eventually, the Spokane River.
Swim, slide and glide
The Salmon Cannon is made by Bellevue-based Whooshh Innovations.
The principal is simple: The tube, which is a proprietary plastic mix and very smooth on the inside, molds to the body of each fish that swims into it. Misters, placed on the outside of the tube, further lubricate the interior with water and allow the fish to breath. Then, an air blower pressurizes the space from below, pushing the salmon up at speeds that can reach 20 mph, much like a pneumatic bank tube.