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: www.haidanation.ca
Haida Salmon Restoration Project: http://www.hsrc1.com/
Quirks and Quarks, Canadian Broadcasting Radio Show scheduled for October 20, 2012. http://www.cbc.ca/quirks/2012/10/17/october-20-ironing-the-ocean/
“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.” http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/oct/17/canada-geoengineering-pacific
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