02/05/2014 08:59 EST | Updated 04/07/2014 05:59 EDT

Haida Gwaii ocean iron dump investigation to proceed

The lawyer for a company that conducted a controversial experiment in ocean fertilization to boost salmon populations off B.C.'s north coast maintains his clients have not violated any Canadian laws.

In 2012, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation dumped about 100 tonnes of iron-rich dust into the ocean about 300 kilometres west of the islands of Haida Gwaii on B.C.'s West Coast.

The corporation's lawyer Jay Straith said studies are underway to find out if the experiment worked, but the company has already seen encouraging signs.

"There's been massive increases in the runs of pinks in both Washington state and in places like the Squamish River," he said. "The largest jury is a bunch of coho and chinook, which are currently out in the Pacific Ocean."

Environment Canada, which believes the corporation violated national environmental laws by depositing iron without a permit, began an investigation.

The company went to court to ask that search warrants obtained by the government be set aside.

But last week, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ruled Environment Canada's investigation into the unsanctioned experiment can continue.