Haida Nation condemns iron dust dump by one of its community's company

The Haida Nation has condemned the actions of a company owned by one of its villages that is currently in the midst of an environmental controversy over an experiment to fertilize the ocean with iron dust in hopes of boosting salmon numbers.

APTN National News
OTTAWA–
The Haida Nation has condemned the actions of a company owned by one of its villages that is currently in the midst of an environmental controversy over an experiment to fertilize the ocean with iron dust in hopes of boosting salmon numbers.

In a statement, the Hereditary Chiefs Council and the Council of the Haida Nation said they had nothing to do with the experiment.

“The consequences of tampering with nature at this scale are not predictable and pose unacceptable risks to the marine environment,” said the statement, signed by President Guujaaw. “Our people along with the rest of humanity depend on the ocean and cannot leave the fate of the oceans to the whim of a few.”

The statement emerged as the president of the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC) and the chief councillor from the Haida community of Old Massett Village prepared to hold a press conference scheduled for Friday morning in Vancouver to defend the $2.5 million experiment.

Environment Minister Peter Kent said Thursday HSRC was in “apparent” violation of Canadian environmental law after initiating an experiment to dump 100 tonnes of iron dust into the Pacific Ocean to boost plankton levels.

“Environment Canada was not asked to approve this apparent violation of the Canadian Environmental Protection Act,” said Kent. “Anyone who contravenes environmental law should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.”

HSRC launched the experiment in hopes of boosting the level of available plankton for salmon and to create a carbon sink to tap into the potentially lucrative carbon credit market. The experiment was carried out under the direction of Russ George, a businessman who has been hounded by environmentalists for years.

The experiment, the largest geoengineering project in the world, was carried out in July, in an area around 320 kilometres from the Haida Gwaii islands of British Columbia’s coast. It has been roundly criticized by some environmental groups who say it violates at least two UN moratoria and that it’s a dangerous to artificially alter ecosystems.

John Disney, head of the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation and economic development officer for the Old Massett Village, said the experiment is simply recreating natural conditions to boost the survival rates for Pacific salmon which form one of the cornerstones of Haida diet and culture.

Disney has also met several times with Environment Canada officials who have known about it for several months. Because the experiment fell outside Canada’s jurisdiction, there is little Environment Canada can do about it, he said.

“We have lawyers watching our back,” he said. “I kept (Environment Canada) in the loop on this.”

Online Producer / Ottawa

Before moving to become the APTN News social media producer, Mark was the executive producer for the news in eastern Canada. Before starting with APTN in 2009, Mark worked at CBC Radio and Television in Newfoundland and Labrador and Ottawa.

2 thoughts on “Haida Nation condemns iron dust dump by one of its community's company

  1. I sure hope it works because if it don,t
    the risk in the future is going to hurt a lot of
    people on the coast money can not replace food

  2. This appears to be classical exploitation of two maxims. A little knowledge can be dangerous. If a little is good, more is better.

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