Role of Canadian government in iron dumping off Pacific coast, and need for open public disclosure to allay public concerns, ensure scientific scrutiny and mitigate adverse effects

The full facts around the controversial iron dumping off the Pacific coast of Canada are slow unfolding, with more information coming to light about the role of the Canadian government. Extracts from and links to updated news reports are found below. Importantly, there is still no open public disclosure of the circumstances of the iron dumping and subsequent events.

By their own admission, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation was knowledgeable about international conventions prohibiting the iron fertilization, and had extensive legal advice on the iron dumping in international waters.

Environment Canada and other federal government departments also knew of the iron dumping prior to it occurring, and may have facilitated the iron dumping and subsequent monitoring. They have not provided public disclosure of their activities or their knowledge of the project itself.

There is no evidence of the Canadian government trying to stop this dumping, despite this iron dumping being contrary to Canada’s international commitments under two UN conventions, and where iron dumping could have impact on waters and species within exclusive economic zone and regulation of Canada and the United States.

Despite the importance of how iron is placed in the sea, and of any subsequent monitoring, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation has not fully disclosed information about this iron dumping and subsequent events to independent scientists and academic institutes, to the Canadian public or this global public. Similar to an oil or chemical spill in the ocean, adequate and open disclosure should be of priority to satisfy public concern, to understand the consequences and implications of this iron dumping, and to mitigate any adverse effects.

The Haida Nation may be taking internal measures for greater scrutiny of these types of decisions by Haida villages in the future, but the Haida Nation has not ensured adequate disclosure of this iron dumping. The Haida Nation is a sophisticated intervenor in energy and forestry projects, arguing for full disclosure, consultation and environmental assessment in advance of controversial projects being developed. In this instance, it is not holding itself or its corporations to that same standard of disclosure, consultation and environmental assessment. The conduct of the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation and the Haida Nation does not appear inconsistent with principles of  ocean stewardship.

References to key news updates and links:

Haida Nation:

Haida Salmon Restoration Project:

Quirks and Quarks, Canadian Broadcasting Radio Show scheduled for October 20, 2012.

“In an interview with Canadian radio, John Disney said: “I’ve been in touch with many departments within the federal ministry. All I’m saying is that everyone from the Canadian Revenue Agency down to the National Research Council and Department of Fisheries and Oceans and Environment Canada – these people, they’ve all known about this.” The Guardian has seen government correspondence which indicates that Environment Canada officers met with Disney’s company in June and expressed their misgiving about any ocean fertilisation going forward, but appear to not have taken further action.After the huge experiment happened in July, Canadian government officials were anxious to find out if the company’s boat flew under a Canadian flag and whether the iron was loaded in Canada. A large number of Canadian personnel have been involved on the boat, the largest fishing vessel under Canadian registration in the province of British Columbia. Disney, who is also a non-native economic manager for the indigenous council in the Old Masset village in Haida Gwaii, told media that the iron was brought from Alberta.
Russ George, a colleague of Disney’s, told the Guardian: “Canadian government people have been helping us. We’ve had workshops run where we’ve been taught how to use satellites resources by the Canadian space agency. [The government] is trying to ‘cost-share’ with us on certain aspects of the project. And we are expecting lots more support as we go forward.” Environment Canada officials refused to comment, saying “the matter is currently under investigation.”

Related posts:

  1. Undisclosed large scale ocean fertilization off Canada’s coast contravenes international conventions and places important ocean ecosystems and species at risk
  2. New SEC Disclosure Standards for CC
  3. Interim WTO Ruling Finds Canadian Renewable Energy Scheme Discriminatory
  4. Ocean Iron Fertilization and Ocean Acidification
  5. Ocean Iron Fertilization and Potential Toxic Diatom Production
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About Magdalena A. K. Muir

Magdalena AK Muir, B.A., J.D., LL.M. is Adjunct Professor at John Hopkins University, where she teaches on offshore wind, ocean energy and offshore grid infrastructure marine in the Masters of Science- Energy Policy and Climate program. Magdalena is Associate Professor, Aarhus School of Business and Social Sciences, Aarhus University, and participates in the Nordic Centre of Excellence for Strategic Adaptation Research (NCoE NORD-STAR) on adaptation to climate changes in Scandinavia and the Arctic. She is a Research Associate with Arctic Institute of North America, a bi-national research institution based at the University of Calgary, and teaches on international energy issues at this university. She is a member of the Law Society of Alberta and is a practicing barrister and solicitor with International Energy, Environment and Legal Services Ltd.. For the Arctic, Magdalena collaborates with the University of the Arctic and the Centre for the North Roundtable of the Conference Board of Canada, and is a member of the Global Sustainable Tourism Council. . Since 2004, Magdalena is Advisory Board Member, Climate with the Coastal and Marine Union (EUCC), leading their engagement on sustainable energy development in Europe, including offshore wind and ocean energy and grid infrastucture. She is active on European climate adaptation and mitigation policy, and in the QualityCoast global programme for sustainable tourism destination criteria. Further information on these EUCC activities are found on the EUCC webpage entitled: Articles and Presentations on Adaptation and Mitigation of Climate Change for Biodiversity, Ecosystems, Energy and Water ( Dr. Muir has the following research projects, which are implemented in cooperation with the AINA, John Hopkins University, Duke University, Aarhus University and the NCoE NORD-STAR. - Adaptation Governance for Global and Climate Change in the Circumpolar Arctic - Arctic Resource Development and Climate Impacts, Adaptation, and Mitigation - Beaufort Sea Project for Climate Change: Impact and Adaptation to Climate Change for Fish and Marine Mammals in the Canadian Beaufort Sea - Changing Oceans in a Changing World - The Circum-Arctic Health Project : Northern & Remote Community Health & Resilience Considering Economic & Environmental Changes - Parallels for Arctic and Antarctica Governance and Resource Management - Sustainable Energy Development - Sustainable Tourism See for further information on these projects

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