B.C. volunteers race to rescue stranded salmon in Fraser Canyon by hand

In the Fraser Canyon, north of Lillooet, a large group of volunteers conducted a remarkable rescue operation on Saturday.

“(We are) dip netting the salmon and, like a water brigade, we are passing the fish up and over the cliff face and dropping them into a pool above,” Danny O’Farrell, a volunteer, said.

Record low-water levels in the Fraser River in recent months have made it almost impossible for salmon to get to spawning grounds at this location.

There is a waterfall portion where the water levels are too low for the fish, leading to dozens of volunteers saving each fish by hand. They’ve been able to move thousands of fish over the last few days.

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Xwísten (Bridge River Indian Band) Chief Ina Williams could not thank the group of volunteers enough for their hard work.

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“The fish have been pooling up in these pools for a few weeks now,” Chief Williams told Global News. “A few days ago we noticed none of them were making it up the falls. We have come together as a community and a nation and got a plan together. We will be here as long as we need to.”

Chief Williams said the band put out a call for help on social media and that garnered dozens of people coming out and help.

“Our message was (heard) far and wide. It is wonderful, our prayers have been answered … support is here,” she said. “Our ancestors did this a long time ago … there was a slide at Hells Gate and they had to do it then.”

It is estimated the group has saved more than 5,000 salmon so far.

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