Fin-tastic innovations

Heritage Interpreter Grace W. has selected some of her favourite fishy solutions to a problem posed to visitors at an interactive station in our feature exhibit, Wave of Innovation.

Check out what innovative ideas our visitors came up with in our feature exhibit, Waves of Innovation: Stories from the West Coast. The exhibit spotlights the stories of innovation in the West Coast commercial fishing industry and the effects on their communities. An interactive station called Design Your Innovation asks visitors to brainstorm a solution that helps salmon get up a blocked river.  

Two photos showing industrial equipment displayed on a blue background, with yellow text captions.
Panels from the “Design Your Innovation” station showing the “Salmon Cannon” in action in northern BC.

The “Whoosh Fish Transport System”, also known as the “Salmon Cannon”, is the inspiration for this activity. In 2019, a landslide trapped migrating salmon on a remote section of the Fraser River, creating a barrier to the vital seasonal salmon migration. This pressurized fish tube not only transported the fish from one area to another safely, but it also innovated how we help salmon deal with natural disasters and blocked waterways.  

Additionally, Design Your Innovation puts forward an important question for visitors: What does innovation mean to you? 

Some fishy solutions

For a recent young visitor named Isaac, innovation involves thinking out of the box. I had the chance to talk to “Sir Isaac the Explorer” about his impressive innovation: the motorized salmon tail. Isaac explained that the salmon would have a propeller in lieu of a fish tail. This cyborg component would allow the salmon to make it over the barrier. He specified that each motorized salmon tail would need two AA batteries in order to power the propeller.  

We received lots of superb ideas on the brainstorming board, from “salmon vacuums” to reverse waterfall-like “salmon elevators”. Other thinking-outside-of-the-box innovations include turning salmon into Minecraft blocks to conveniently carry them and creating an explosive that can unblock the river. Browse the gallery below to see some more ingenious inventions, and think about what inspires you to make innovative choices and adaptations.