Controversial BC Salmon Project Pits Haida Members Against Feds

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HAIDA
The federal government and Haida Nation are at odds over a salmon-enhancement project that dumped tonnes of iron dust into Haida Gwaii waters this summer. (Alamy) | Alamy

VANCOUVER - Members of a prominent First Nation in British Columbia and the federal government appear to be at odds over a salmon-enhancement project that saw tonnes of iron dust deposited into the waters off the West Coast.

The multi-million dollar project was taken on by the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation this past summer in international waters about 200 nautical miles west of the islands.

Known as ocean fertilization, the effort was meant to stimulate the production of plankton or algae blooms, which help provide nutrients to salmon.

The band says in a news release the effort was part of a research project, was lawful and complied with the Law of the Sea Convention and the Ocean Act.

But a spokesman for the federal minister of environment says it informed the company that any iron ore deposit inside or outside the 200-nautical-mile limit would violate the Canadian Environmental Protection Act, except for purposes of legitimate research.

The spokesman says Environment Canada never received an application for ocean fertilization under the Disposal at Sea program and has launched an investigation.

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