Canada Iron Fertilization Incident

IMO released today a press briefing on concerns expressed by the Contracting Parties to the Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter, 1972 (London Convention) and to the 1996 Protocol thereto (London Protocol). The concerns expressed during the meeting in London from 29 October to 2 November 2012 are related to activities conducted by the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation which involved the deliberate introduction into surface waters of 100 metric tonnes of iron sulfate during July 2012 in waters off the west coast of Canada.

Iron fertilization is the intentional introduction of iron to the upper ocean to stimulate a phytoplankton bloom. This is intended to enhance biological productivity.

As a result of the above mentioned meeting a statement has been issued referring to an agreement made in 2008 stating 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. Mentioned document should be used to determine, whether a proposed ocean fertilization activity constitutes legitimate scientific research or is contrary to the aims of the Protocol or Convention. The statement also strongly re-emphasises the point that economic interests should not influence the design, conduct and/or outcomes of any proposed ocean fertilization activity.

Introduction of iron in the surface of the sea

In the statement, the Parties recognized the actions of the Government of Canada in investigating this incident and stressed that ocean fertilization has the potential to have widespread, long-lasting, and severe impacts on the marine environment, with implications for human health.

The statement can be found HERE.

Source: IMO

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