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International Maritime Organization condemns Haida Gwaii ocean fertilization

A United Nations group has condemned the ocean fertilization carried out this summer off the coast of Haida Gwaii.

The condemnation came in the form of a formal statement by the International Maritime Organization, who met in London from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, and contains some strong wording aimed at the proponents.

The Parties to the London Convention and London Protocol (LC/LP) 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 sulfate... Ocean fertilization has the potential to have widespread, long-lasting, and severe impacts on the marine environment, with implications for human health,” read the Nov. 2 statement released by the group.

[The parties] reiterate, as agreed in 2008, that ocean fertilization activities, other than legitimate scientific research, should not be allowed... legitimate scientific research is defined as those proposals that have been assessed and found acceptable under the 2010 'Assessment Framework for Scientific Research Involving Ocean Fertilization'. The 2010 Assessment Framework should be used to determine, with utmost caution, whether a proposed ocean fertilization activity constitutes legitimate scientific research or is contrary to the aims of the Protocol or Convention. The Parties re-emphasize that the consultation, notification and reporting provisions of the Assessment Framework are integral to the assessment of any proposed ocean fertilization activity, and that economic interests should not influence the design, conduct and/or outcomes of any proposed ocean fertilization activity.”

The ocean fertilization was carried out with $2 million in backing from Old Massett council and was designed to help reinvigorate salmon stocks off of Haida Gwaii.

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