UN group issues statement of concern over iron dumping off B.C.'s north coast

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VANCOUVER - Delegates at an international convention in London have taken a stand against the dumping of more than 100 tonnes of iron into the ocean off British Columbia's northwest coast this past summer.

Known as ocean fertilization, the project by the Haida Salmon Restoration Corp., with support from the village of Old Massett, was meant to boost salmon returns and earn profits from carbon captures.

But at a meeting of the United Nations' International Maritime Organization this week, delegates issued a statement, expressing "grave concern" with the project.

Delegates say ocean fertilization should not be allowed, except for legitimate scientific research, because there are human health concerns and there's the potential for "widespread, long-lasting and severe impacts" for the ocean's environment.

Delegates also say legitimate scientific research must first be assessed and found acceptable under a framework developed in 2010.

Jim Thomas, a spokesman for the ETC Group in Montreal, a group that monitors emerging technologies, says the statement is a condemnation of the project and he wants the federal government to prosecution those responsible.

Organizations: United Nations, Haida Salmon Restoration, International Maritime Organization ETC Group

Geographic location: VANCOUVER, London, British Columbia Old Massett Montreal

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