Video: Transporting Live Trout and Salmon by “Fish Vacuum”

A Washington-based company that got its start transporting fruit at high speeds using vacuum tubes is now trying to use the technology to transport fish over dams.

The company behind the contraption, Whooshh Innovations, says fish enter either by hand or are sucked in by a vacuum and forced into a pressurized sleeve. The tube forms an airtight seal around the fish and air pressure forces it to the other side. While there's no water in the tube, the entire process of moving a fish from point A to B takes only a few seconds—much faster and less stressful on fish than fish ladders, conveyor belts, or transport by hand.

In a press release, Whooshh CEO, Vincent Bryan III, says the company made the device from FDA-approved materials and designed the tube to be customizable for a variety of situations that could help increase the survival rate of fish. The company is currently testing it as a live-fish passage at the Roza Dam hatchery facility on the Yakima River.

“There’s no doubt that we are challenging the status quo” when it comes to processing and wild fish passage, Bryan noted. “Given the competitive nature of the aquaculture business, and the importance of wild salmon to the Pacific Northwest, we are excited about the opportunities ahead for this new fish transport system.”

For a firsthand look at how the vacuum works, the company posted a YouTube video showing it in a variety of situations.