British Columbia

Salmon swimming freely through Fraser River landslide site, officials say

Officials said they have ceased helicopter transfers of salmon after observing large numbers of fish swimming through the landslide site, north of Lillooet, B.C., unaided.

Decreasing water levels and rock scaling work are believed to have helped make a path for the fish

Michael Crowe, centre, of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and two members of the B.C. Wildfire Service place a salmon in a vessel being used to transport them up the Fraser River with a helicopter, past a rock slide near Clinton, B.C., on July 24. (Darryl Dyck/Canadian Press)

Large numbers of sockeye and chinook salmon have started to swim freely through a section of the Fraser River that had been blocked by a landslide, officials announced Wednesday.

The incident management team said they have ceased helicopter transfers of fish after observing many of them negotiating the obstacles created by the landslide, north of Lillooet, B.C., unaided.

Decreasing water levels and rock scaling work are believed to have helped make a path for the salmon to continue migrating upstream.

Officials said they will now start monitoring pink salmon — which do not have the same size or swimming speed as other salmon species — to see if they will also be able to get past the slide.

Crews had conducted a successful trial run of transporting salmon upstream by truck earlier this week.

They said an estimated 28,780 salmon have passed the slide on their own, while nearly 57,000 have been transported by helicopter.

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