Sucking Unwanted Fish Out of Minnesota's Lakes and Rivers May Soon Be a Reality

September 14, 2017

Imagine a tube that could suck unwanted fish out of Minnesota’s lakes and rivers.

It seems like a bizarre idea. But you might soon see it in practice in the Twin Cities.

On Wednesday, the Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center at the University of Minnesota showcased its research. This is the only time each year all scientists involved in stopping the spread of aquatic invasive species get together to share ideas.          

One demonstration, in particular, attracted a lot of attention. In the Pacific Northwest, it is nicknamed the Salmon Cannon.

A company called Whooshh Innovations developed it to transport migrating salmon over huge dams.

Researchers said the fish transport system can be used in Minnesota to get rid of invasive carp.

Todd Deligan with Whooshh Innovations said invasive carp could literally remove themselves from the water.

"That is the intent, absolutely," he said.

Here's how it works: migrating invasive carp swim into the tube, and they are then sucked out of the water.     

Deligan said there is an underwater screening system to protect native fish.

"We in fact take pictures before they actually get to the tube themselves," he said. "From the scanning system, we then make a determination whether the fish is going to be bypassed; like an invasive species can be sent to a fertilizer truck and a native species can be sent to an appropriate tube for transport over any kind of distance that you want."

Whooshh Innovations said it has already created a system that transports salmon more than one-third of a mile over a 185-foot high dam.

Minnesota is the first state to use the Salmon Cannon to try and stop the spread of invasive carp species.

In March of 2018, AISRC scientists will put the fish transport system into Rice Creek - just upstream of Long Lake in New Brighton.  March is the time of year when carp start to migrate to spawn.