VANCOUVER – A private company has conducted what is being described as the world’s biggest geoengineering experiment off Canada’s west coast, dumping tonnes of iron into the ocean that may have triggered an artificial plankton bloom up to 10,000 square kilometres in size.
The experiment, which critics say is a ”blatant violation” of United Nations rules, involves controversial Californian businessman Russ George who teamed up with a First Nations village on Haida Gwaii to establish the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation to run the project.
Environment Canada said Monday it is aware of “the incident,” which is reported to have entailed dumping 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the sea in a scheme to enhance both plankton and salmon and generate lucrative carbon credits. [...]
It reports that George’s team dumped about 100 tonnes of iron sulphate into the ocean from a fishing boat 370 kilometres west of Haida Gwaii in July. George and his colleague John Disney sold the people in the village of Masset on the idea of ocean enhancement, and the HSRC agreed to channel more than $2.5 million into projects.
“He promised a plankton bloom and he got it,” Guujaaw, president of the Haida Nation, told Postmedia News on Monday. “You can see it on the satellite images.”
A large plankton bloom covering an area up to 10,000 square kilometres was visible off Haida Gwaii in August, but it is not known how much was stimulated by the iron sulphate dumped into the sea and how much of it occurred naturally. [...]
George is the former chief executive of Planktos Inc. and his vessels were barred from ports by the Spanish and Ecuadorean governments after previous attempts to produce plankton blooms near the Galapagos and Canary Islands. The Haida Gwaii experiment is believed to be the biggest geoengineering attempt to date, Jim Thomas, of the technology watchdog ETC Group, said Monday. The group has long tracked and publicized what Thomas describes as George’s “scams” and “schemes.”