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Jumping salmon in Toronto

Lyndsay Morrison, staff writer

September 29, 2010 — Salmon in the Humber River have been busy this week, trying to jump their way up a dam during their fall migration.

Spectators watch the salmon on Toronto's Humber River.
Spectators watch the salmon on Toronto's Humber River.

It's that time of year!

Spectators in Toronto were treated to quite a show on Tuesday as they watched salmon trying to jump up a dam in the Humber River.

The process is part of the fish's fall migration. Those who came to check out the scene were fascinated by what they saw.

“We came out because we heard the salmon were going to be running, so we've been watching them here,” said one Toronto resident who brought his daughter. “There's one clear spot where you can see them trying to get up, and we're rooting for them to get over the hump!”

“Seeing them jump, it's kind of sad to see because they get so close, they come down and they have to try again and again,” said another onlooker. “It's amazing to watch.”

Getting upstream is no easy task for the salmon, but a rushing current isn't the only challenge. According to the Toronto and Region Conservation, there are currently more than 1,200 potential in-stream barriers on the Humber River, including elevated culverts, dams, weirs and watercourse crossings. This is a concern because a key factor in healthy, self-sustaining populations of fish is the ability to migrate freely within the river system.

The Humber River Watershed is the largest in the TRCA's jurisdiction. Within the watershed, the Humber River travels through the Niagara escarpment, the Oak Ridges Moraine and the ancient shoreline of now-vanished Lake Iroquois.

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