A salmon is placed 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

Many salmon now passing Fraser River slide on their own, DFO says

Helicopters had lifted nearly 60,000 fish over the slide, which was discovered in June

Helicopter airlifts of migrating salmon have been temporarily halted at a rock slide in the Fraser River because officials say large numbers of fish are now getting past the obstruction on their own.

A statement from the team working at the Big Bar landslide says acoustic monitoring, radio tags and visual observations confirm chinook and sockeye salmon are swimming through the landslide unaided.

The statement says the fish are finally getting past the blockage because water levels have fallen and crews have successfully shifted some of the huge boulders that created a five-metre waterfall across the river earlier this year.

It had the potential to prevent millions of migrating Fraser River salmon from reaching spawning grounds north of the Clinton area.

RELATED: Significant progress made securing fish passage on the Fraser River at landslide site

Helicopters had been used to lift nearly 60,000 fish over the rockfall, but experts remain concerned about the ability of the returning run of 1.5 million pink salmon to get past the slide.

They say helicopter and truck-transfer operations will resume if the smaller, weaker species can’t follow its chinook and sockeye cousins upriver.

The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: Traffic moving again after single-vehicle crash on Kelowna’s Bennett Bridge

Traffic looks to be flowing again on the northbound lanes of the bridge

New coach hits off new season with Kelowna Falcons

Kelowna Falcons name Hayden Pewitt as manager

Lake Country man accused of sexual assault found not guilty due to alibi

Justice Dennis Hori determined a reasonable doubt in the Crown’s case against Robert Copeland

UBC to be first Canadian institution to join open science platform

The new service aims to make transparency, collaboration and reproducibility easier

Top spots to watch the Superbowl in Kelowna

A look at venues with great deals, big screens and game-level volume

B.C. reports first coronavirus in Vancouver region

First patient visited Wuhan, China, reported symptoms

Watch out for scams, clickbait in the wake of Kobe Bryant’s death: Better Business Bureau

Kobe Bryant and his daughter were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles

Calgary man dies in snowmobiling incident near Revelstoke

Boulder Mountain is a popular snowmobiling area west of the city

Kamloops killer who claims victim stabbed himself has appeal dismissed

Gordon Camille was sentenced to 6 years in a federal penitentiary following a 2018 manslaughter conviction

‘Very disrespectful’: Headstones at Okanagan cemetery damaged by excavation crew

Headstones at Enderby’s Cliffside Cemetery mistakenly driven over by excavation crew

Despite reports of decline, birds flocking to national parks in Canadian Rockies

Recent studies suggest overall bird population has slid by three billion since 1970

Former UN committee member defends stance on B.C.’s Coastal GasLink pipeline

First Nations LNG Alliance accused UN committee, human rights watchdog of not doing their research

Fundraiser launched for missing Vernon man

GoFundMe campaign already at halfway mark of $5K goal

Most Read