UINR is conducting research on Atlantic salmon populations. The smolt wheel, which looks like a giant funnel on its side, collects young salmon smolt, safely directing them into a tank where they are counted. Smolt are young salmon that migrate each spring from the rivers where they were born and grew up in, to the ocean where they become adults. Every day technicians monitor the collection and once sampled, the smolt are set free to continue their journey.

The smelt wheel will be in the river for several weeks, from the beginning of the migration until the run is over. The purpose of the project is to estimate the number of smolt in Middle River and to collect biological information about the salmon population in Cape Breton rivers.
This wheel is noticeable by warning signs and safety markers. Boaters are advised to watch for this device when setting out on the river, especially at night or during conditions that reduce visibility.