Fisheries and Oceans Canada officials and members of the B.C. Wildfire Service move salmon in a temporary holding pen on the Fraser River before being transported with a helicopter past a massive rock slide, near Big Bar, west of Clinton, B.C., on Wednesday July 24, 2019. Authorities dealing with a massive landslide in British Columbia’s Fraser River say they’ve successfully helped thousands of salmon migrate north of the site, but millions of fish remain threatened by the obstruction. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

B.C. says salmon can now be transported over Fraser River landslide by truck

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has called the landslide a ‘crisis situation’

The B.C. government says salmon stuck at a massive landslide on the Fraser River north of Lilooet can now be transported upstream by truck, as crews conducted a successful trial run on Sunday.

The province says rock scalers have also moved two large boulders as part of ongoing efforts to create a natural passage for fish to swim past the slide on their way to spawning grounds.

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

The province says water levels continue to drop, making it easier for fish to move upstream while improving conditions for crews working at the slide.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the B.C. government and local First Nations have been working together since June trying to ensure hundreds of thousands of salmon have a chance to spawn.

Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson has called the landslide a “crisis situation” and said 2019 has been an especially difficult year for wild Pacific salmon, while pointing to climate change as the main driving factor in what has been a decades-long decline in stocks.

In one of the most dramatic shifts, Wilkinson’s department adjusted the number of returning Fraser River sockeye expected this year to a little more than 600,000, down from an earlier projection of nearly five million.

READ MORE: About 56,000 salmon now past Big Bar landslide

READ MORE: B.C. First Nations call for closure to commercial, recreational fishing on Fraser River

The Canadian Press

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