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International body expresses 'grave concern' over iron dumping PDF Print E-mail
Earth News
Posted by Joan Russow
Saturday, 03 November 2012 14:16


An international "statement of grave concern" over the dumping of iron sulphates off Haida Gwaii was issued Friday by the 87 countries who are members of the London Convention against ocean dumping.

The statement received unanimous support when it was issued at the close of a weeklong conference in London of the International Maritime Organization. That is the UN-affiliated agency behind the London Convention, an agreement to limit sea pollution by prohibiting the dumping of waste in international water.

The parties to the London Convention "express grave concern regarding the deliberate ocean fertilization activity that was recently reported to have been carried out in July of 2012 in waters off the Canadian West Coast. This activity, reportedly conducted by the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, involved the deliberate introduction into surface waters of 100 metric tonnes of iron sulphate ... ocean fertilization has the potential impact to have widespread, long-lasting and severe impacts on the marine environment, with implications for human health."

The member countries, including Canada, reiterated that ocean fertilization is prohibited unless for legitimate scientific purposes. The statement also said the parties to the Convention will work toward creating an effective system of control and regulation for ocean fertilization and other activities "that have the potential to cause harm to the marine environment."

Despite an international outcry this month, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corp. has maintained the iron was scattered as part of a scientific experiment to find out how it would help declining salmon populations.

Critics have said selling international carbon credits from the resulting plankton bloom was also part of the scheme, something the project's chief scientist, Russ George, has attempted before through his now-defunct Planktos Corp.

At the 2008 conference of the London Convention, the prohibition against ocean iron fertilization was repeated, likely influenced by George's attempt to create a plankton bloom off the coast of the Galápagos Islands, a move blocked by the government of Ecuador.

Environment Canada is investigating the Haida Gwaii experiment, which was called "rogue science" by Environment Minister Peter Kent on Monday during question period in the House of Commons. He said violations of Canada's Environmental Act should be "prosecuted to the full extent."

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Last Updated on Saturday, 03 November 2012 14:20

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