Foundations Of Ocean & Salmon Restoration
The plankton are the grass of ocean pastures and are in a state of dire decline, largely due to the deadly effects of CO2.
As the plankton are disappearing so are our salmon and other marine life.
We are working to learn how to replenish and restore the ocean plankton blooms, the ocean pastures, and salmon!
Haida Salmon Files With BC Supreme Court To Quash Warrant
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, 17 April 2013
HAIDA SALMON RESTORATION CORP. SEEKS TO SET ASIDE SEARCH WARRANT
Old Massett Village Seeks Relief in the British Columbia Supreme Court
Following a search of Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation (HSRC) offices by Environment Canada under the Canadian Environmental Protection Act (CEPA) on 27 March 2013, the company’s legal team, headed by Straith Litigation Chambers has filed an application for an Order setting aside the Search Warrant issued in Provincial Court in an application to British Columbia’s Supreme Court.
The application seeks to set aside the search and seizures as unconstitutional as there is no applicable Canadian Law. The research activities undertaken by HSRC fall outside of the legal definition of “disposal” under CEPA as they are “placement of a substance for a purpose other than its mere disposal” sect 122(1)(i) of CEPA read press release here…
New Years News 2013
Being learned science and green business folk we don’t ordinarily read the hard edge conservative media but today we’ve learned a welcome lesson to be more open minded. Writer Robert Zubrin has written a lengthy article published today in the National Review Online titled “The Greens Attack On Mariculture” and he gets a great deal of our village story right, bless his conservative soul for what he writes:
“Over the past several months, while most of the political world has been focused on the election and the ensuing struggle over the fiscal cliff, a little story appeared that is worthy of much more attention.
It concerns the efforts of the British Columbia–based Haida native-American tribe to restore the salmon fishery that has provided much of their livelihood for centuries. Acting collectively, the Old Massett people voted to form the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, financed it with $2.5 million of their own savings, and used it to support the efforts of American scientist-entrepreneur Russ George to demonstrate the feasibility of open-sea mariculture through the distribution of 120 tons of iron sulfate into the northeast Pacific to stimulate a phytoplankton bloom.
Native Americans, bringing back the salmon, preserving their way of life, while combating global warming: One would think the environmentalists would be very pleased. One would be very wrong. Far from receiving applause for their initiative, the Haida and Mr. George have become the target of rage drawn from every corner of the community of those seeking to use global warming as a pretext for curtailing human freedom.”
The article goes on in depth to describe the conflict foisted via the adept use of every dirty propaganda trick in the book upon our work by green ideologues and a dutiful and complicit media corp. You’ll want to read it all yourself. There are some conservative digs against climate change that stick in our craw a bit but if we simply agreed with everything we read we’d be the same as the dogmatic ideologues who attack us. Mr. Zubrin ends his article with the following:
“The ultimate question comes down to this: Are humans creators or destroyers? If it is accepted that we are simply agents of destruction, consuming or ruining resources that existed before we came, then it follows that human activities, numbers, and liberties must be severely constrained and that someone must be empowered to do the constraining. On the other hand, if it is understood that humanity is fundamentally a creative force, that we invent resources and improve the world — unleashing abundance, lighting the night, ridding continents of pestilence, and bringing barren oceans to life — then it becomes clear that the essential mission of government is not to limit liberty but to defend it at all costs.
By advancing the case for humanity, the Haida have rendered us all a very important service.” Read the whole article here….link
In Old Massett there is a special word of thanks, “Howa” Mr. Zubrin, you’ve started us on a happier new year!
EPIC FAIL – Canada’s former head of Fisheries and Oceans declares a salmon emergency.
Dec. 2012 – He’s 88 and admits to failing health, but Ron MacLeod’s mind remains as sharp as a well-honed fish hook and his passion for protecting salmon is undiminished. Proof of that lies in a brilliant paper he has just written with long-time colleague Al Wood that he hopes will stir a public outcry against government. This is an old warrior who is squaring up for one last fight. And politicians will ignore him at their peril.
His paper, “Epic Fail,” chronicles the decline of Pacific salmon stocks and warns that a total collapse – on the scale of the Atlantic cod catastrophe – is in the making, unless things change. Mr. MacLeod, a former director-general of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans, goes beyond doom-saying. He lays out the history of failed government policies that have propelled us to this point, and offers solutions.
In his paper, he urges the public to stop whining about the way things are and start organizing. “It’s going to take an emotional outburst from British Columbians,” Mr. MacLeod said.
As a young boy, Mr. MacLeod went on patrol with his father, a fisheries officer in Tofino. He became a fisheries officer himself in 1956. By the time he retired from the DFO in 1984, he had risen through the ranks to become the director of the department’s operations in the Pacific region – and along with Mr. Wood, he had launched the Salmonid Enhancement Program (SEP) a community-based effort that, over 35 years, has breathed life into hundreds of streams and mobilized thousands of volunteers. Though Mr. MacLeod is long retired, he is still actively involved in salmon issues.
Asked if he had ever expected to see salmon stocks fall to the low ebb they are at now, he replied: “Never, never, never.” “Currently … there is no one to speak for the salmon,” Mr. MacLeod writes. “I know there are lots of people in B.C. who feel the way I do,” he said. “They might just rise up.”
But he also knows that B.C. has a profound cultural attachment to salmon. And he is hoping that deep love for nature will translate into massive, determined action.
In a personal e-mail to our Haida Salmon Restoration office he writes, “Your time is coming. Just be persistent and keep your focus on the salmon. I am of the view that First Nations will be the eventual saviours of this precious heritage.”
We promise you Ron we will persist, we will speak for the salmon and more, we will be idle no more!
“Ocean conditions… contributed to long-term decline. If we don’t make a stand in British Columbia… 100 years from now we might have very few salmon. Mitigation measures should not be delayed in the absence of scientific certainty!” – Justice Cohen.
The Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation would like to thank Justice Cohen for his work and presentation of the fact that the plight of the Sockeye salmon, which for decades have been sent to sea in ever increasing numbers only to return in ever fewer numbers, is a serious crisis. This is true for most species of Salmon. We agree something must be done without delay and we are proud of our village which is working to develop and deliver practical, affordable, and timely solutions.
Supreme Court Justice Bruce Cohen was appointed to lead the inquiry by Prime Minister Stephen Harper after only 1.4 million of the highly prized salmon returned to spawn in 2009, a tiny fraction of what were expected. Justice Cohen held months of hearings, collected more than three million pages of documents and heard from 179 witnesses in leading the $26-million inquiry which has taken more than two years to complete. In parallel the Village of Old Massett has been at work on its hopeful solution to the BC Salmon crisis, has spent much more time, but has used a fraction of the Cohen commission budget to introduce and begin research and development of the most likely solution.
HSRC expects their mitigation strategy and technology to lead to restoration of the ocean pastures upon which the salmon of the Fraser River, and countless other British Columbia watersheds, graze and grow to maturity. The fact that salmon put on less than 5% of their body mass while in fresh water and over 95% on their ocean pastures is the reason d’etre for the village work. Spokespersons for the village have stated we’ve got to do something to try to learn how to bring the fish back.
Monday’s announcement by the Federal government that it is making massive cuts of salmon biologists in British Columbia, for reasons good or bad, leaves a void regarding who will be the ocean stewards for the salmon of the Old Massett Haida and the Province. As Justice Cohen clearly states, “Mitigation measure should not be delayed in the absence of scientific certainty!” The Village of Old Massett , through its company the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, and their legitimate research and development work that will lead to just such mitigation measures is today powerfully affirmed by justice Cohen as the right thing to do. Read the Sockeye/Cohen report here….
In a bid to restore lost fish abundance, the Haida Salmon Restoration Corp. (HSRC) undertook to mimic the effects of a volcanic eruption by fertilizing the ocean with iron. The idea was to provide the missing nutrient for a plankton bloom that would then trickle up the food web and restore salmon—with the ancillary effects of gathering data on the ocean food web and, potentially, removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This past summer the HSRC team motored more than 300 kilometers west from the Haida Gwaii Islands to an ocean eddy. The area had previously been scouted by collecting water samples since January. The team also used more than 20 autonomous oceangoing robots, including two bright yellow Slocum gliders and 20 Argo drifter robots on loan from the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, to survey the scene—work that is ongoing. Over the course of many days the researchers then released diluted iron into the fishing boat’s wake in an attempt to raise the levels of iron in the water from one or two parts per trillion up to five to 10… read the original article here…
One report from a Canadian fisheries official as reported in the blogosphere putting his opinion forward, “For sure, in a year or two you’re going to see a record salmon catch. Fish are going to eat up that Plankton like candy.”
We especially agree! The village work to feed throngs of young salmon as they begin their life at sea is very much a large “school lunch” program.
We all know that a healthy environment and early childhood nutrition is a key to a healthy and thriving future, whether the kids are ours or salmon.
Haida Cultural Traditions: If you wish to read and learn some Haida wisdom on taking care of marine life and nature that has been taught to Haida children since the dawn of time check out our Parables Page.
Visit Haida Gwaii: Don’t know much about the Haida people or their beautiful home Haida Gwaii? Learn more about this place where time began, GoHaidaGwaii.
So did the iron replenishment and ocean restoration work?
We don’t know fully yet but the early reports say surely to some extent. A really famous scientist once told me: “Russ, keep in mind: you don’t know.” The correct attitude is: “Data, speak to me.” Do the work, get the data, let it speak to you and tell you what the facts might be. Don’t assume you have this prescient knowledge of how everything is. But we do know that in 2008 when 450 million sockeye salmon left the Fraser River, the expectation was that fewer than one million would return. More and more baby salmon go to sea and fewer and fewer adult salmon return. But in August 2008 a volcano dusted ash, and the northeastern Pacific Ocean turned into a massive plankton bloom. The plankton bloom was of larger proportion than what we did in the area. So 40 million fish came home instead of a million. That offered some hope. read the original article here…
Canada’s ocean fertilization flap, and its significance. Critics of the Haida project are claiming it violates international law, but this is simply not true!
There’s a ruckus going on over an experiment in ocean fertilization conducted off the coast of British Columbia in July and disclosed this week. The Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, an enterprise of the Haida village of Old Massett, used a large fishing vessel to spread 100 tons of iron sulfate-rich dust on the ocean surface west of Haida Gwaii (or the Queen Charlotte Islands). The aim of the release was to increase plankton growth and thereby promote growth of fisheries and maybe also remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Such interventions exist in a near legal vacuum. Critics of the Old Massett Haida project are claiming it violates international law, but this is simply not true.
Mainly due to vigorous lobbying by a couple of small NGOs (the same ones now outraged at the Haida project), parties to the CBD have adopted two decisions discouraging ocean fertilization, and geoengineering generally. But these are purely advisory – and are moreover so clumsily drafted that even if they were legally binding (which they are not), their operational meaning would be utterly opaque. To check for yourself, you can read the most relevant decision here.
In the search for methods to limit global warming, it seems that stimulating the growth of algae in the oceans might be an efficient way of removing excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere after all.Despite other studies suggesting that this approach was ineffective, a recent analysis of an ocean-fertilization experiment eight years ago in the Southern Ocean indicates that encouraging algal blooms to grow can soak up carbon that is then deposited in the deep ocean as the algae die.“At least half of the bloom was exported to depths greater than 1,000 metres,” says Victor Smetacek, a marine biologist at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Bremerhaven, Germany, who led the study.
Guardian UK Wednesday 18 July 2012
Iron fertilization creates algae blooms that later die off and sink, taking the absorbed carbon deep towards the ocean floor. Dumping iron into the sea can bury carbon dioxide for centuries, potentially helping reduce the impact of climate change, according to a major new study. The work shows for the first time that much of the algae that blooms when iron filings are added dies and falls into the deep ocean. Dave Reay, senior lecturer in carbon management at the University of Edinburgh, said: “This represents a whole new ball game in terms of iron fertilization as a geoengineering technique. Maybe deliberate enhancement of carbon storage in the oceans has more legs than we thought but, as the scientists themselves acknowledge, it’s still far too early to run with it.” Prof Victor Smetacek, at the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research in Germany, who led the new research, said: “The time has come… Doing nothing is probably the worst option.” Read more …
Understanding what causes annual plankton blooms in the North Atlantic could be key to understanding how these microscopic plants will respond to climate change. It is also important because phytoplankton form the base of the marine food web, meaning many of the world’s most productive fisheries rely in large part on the activities of these microscopic plants. And other regions of the world’s oceans with similar blooms may follow similar patterns, such as the Arabian Sea and its monsoon-related blooms.
Six days from now, every one of the billions of phytoplankton alive today will be dead—eaten by zooplankton or having drifted to the bottom of the sea. In fact, some of these microscopic plants, which collectively perform as much as photosynthesis as all of Earth’s land-based plants, live for just two days. Of course a new generation is born every few days to replace those that die.
But these microscopic plants have an outsize effect on the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere—both by sucking it up during photosynthesis and by helping to drive the natural circulation of the ocean that lets denser, cooler water that has absorbed CO2 drop to the bottom of the sea in places like the North Atlantic. This natural sink is one of the largest ways that CO2, the most abundant greenhouse gas responsible for climate change, exits the atmosphere. Understanding how and why the tiny plants bloom each spring is therefore critical to understanding how the planet’s living systems—and therefore the planet’s elemental cycles—might respond to global warming.
After all, if the phytoplankton bloom is diminished Earth might lose two carbon sinks: there would be less dead plankton bodies (having avoided consumption by grazers) that fall to the ocean floor along with potentially less sinking of CO2-rich surface waters. And that, in turn, could further exacerbate the climate change caused by extra atmospheric greenhouse gases. Read the whole story here…
While some may try to claim that any consideration of Climate Change ought to be banned.
Fortunately the world’s leading institutes who have looked very carefully at this issue say it is a necessity!
Climate Change: Current Issues 2011 Provided in cooperation with: Institut für Weltwirtschaft (IfW). Paper provided by Kiel Institute for the World Economy in its series Open Access publications from Kiel Institute for the World Economy with number info:hdl:10419/60987.
Given the distinct possibility that we may exhaust the CO2 emissions budget by 2024, can we afford to wait any further before clarifying the uncertainties that surround the process of ocean iron fertilization? Which scientific, economic, and legal issues need to be examined in order to make an informed decision as to whether to include ocean iron fertilization into the Kyoto Protocol as a viable option to offset anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions?
Secondly, the potential of ocean iron fertilization is far from negligible in relation to other abatement options from an economic perspective. Estimates of the costs associated with ocean iron fertilization are in the same order of magnitude as the estimates of the costs associated with forestation projects. Ocean iron fertilization can also generate more carbon credits, even if we take into account the possibility that emissions shift to the regions or that the reductions are not permanent. Read more …
Kerstin Güssow, Alexander Proelss, Andreas Oschlies, Katrin Rehdanz and Wilfried Rickels (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Marine Policy, 2010, vol. 34, issue 5, pages 911-918
Abstract: Despite uncertainties in the fertilization efficiency, natural iron fertilization studies and some of the purposeful iron enrichment studies have demonstrated that Southern Ocean iron fertilization can lead to a significant export of carbon from the sea surface to the ocean interior. From an economic perspective the potential of ocean iron fertilization (OIF) is far from negligible in relation to other abatement options. Comparing the range of cost estimates to the range of estimates for forestation projects they are in the same order of magnitude, but OIF could provide more carbon credits even if high discount rates are used to account for potential leakage and non-permanence. However, the uncertain perception about undesired adverse effects of purposeful iron fertilization on marine ecosystems and biogeochemistry has led to attempts to ban commercial and, to some extent, scientific experiments aimed at a better understanding of the processes involved. As regards the perspective of public international law, the pertinent agreements dealing with the protection of the marine environment indicate that OIF is to be considered as lawful if and to the extent to which it represents legitimate scientific research. As scientific OIF experiments involve only comparatively small negative impacts within a limited marine area, further scientific research must be permitted to explore the carbon sequestration potential of OIF in order to either reject this concept or integrate it into the flexible mechanisms contained in the Kyoto Protocol.
Royal Society calls for the precise scale, scope, and nature of the HSRC Project! Read some pertinent excerpts.
Ocean fertilization: R.S Lampitt, et al Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 13 November 2008 vol. 366no. 1882 3919-3945
Field experiments parameters: Of the four potential means of ocean fertilization identified above, significant field experiments have only been carried out to address the effects of iron fertilization and almost all have been in HNLC regions. As described above, these studies were not designed to address the issue of sequestration and if the feasibility of all four potential strategies is to be evaluated, further relevant experiments in the field will need to be undertaken. In order to address issues of natural spatial and temporal variability, these would need to be of sufficient duration (more than 10 weeks) and scale (in excess of 100×100 km).
Conclusion : There is at present a clear and urgent need for tightly focused research into the effects of ocean fertilization. The critical areas of research will involve large-scale field experiments (100×100 km) tightly coupled to high-resolution three-dimensional computational models with embedded biogeochemistry. This is required for each of the four classes of fertilization schemes that have been proposed. Until completed satisfactorily, it is impossible to provide a rational judgement about whether the schemes proposed are (i) likely to be effective and (ii) likely to cause unacceptable side effects. Once this research has been carried out, it will be the responsibility of the science community to perform appropriate cost–benefit–risk analyses in order to inform policy. At the same time, discussions between the commercial, regulatory and scientific communities must take place so that the principles and practices of verification can be established. Read more …
Dr. Tim Parsons, Canada’s most famous ocean scientist, weighs in. The highest honour in Canadian ocean science is given each year and is the Tim Parson’s Medal.
Here’s a letter from Tim who has given us a great deal of very good advice for a long time.
Sent via email
Russ: I sent this letter to the Times Colonist in reply to their article – Tim
Subject: Iron dust trial
Judith Lavoie’s article on the Haida Gwaii’s dumping of a 100 tons of iron sulphate into the ocean fails to address the primary purpose of this experiment as far as fish habitat is concerned. While I agree that the procedure was scientifically hasty and controversial, the purpose of enhancing salmon returns by increasing plankton production has considerable justification. There are many published scientific papers showing a positive correlation between phytoplankton abundance and fish production, although this “bottom-up” control of fish production is not used by many fisheries scientists engaged only in “population dynamics” management.
In the 1960s, I organized and started a nutrient enrichment program on Great Central Lake which resulted in an approximate seven-fold increase in sockeye salmon returns to the lake, continuing for many years. The statement by Andrew Weaver that there is no proof that plankton blooms initiated by fertilization has an effect on salmon production, is not true. In the Gulf of Alaska, volcanic emissions in 1958 and 2008 both resulted in enormous sockeye salmon returns; in the latter year, this was attributable to a bloom of diatoms, caused by iron from a volcano. Diatoms are the clover of the sea, in that most of the world’s largest fisheries in upwelled areas are based on food chains initiated by diatom growth. However, in the Gulf of Alaska, iron, which is an essential nutrient for diatom growth, is generally lacking.
Thus the logic behind the Haida Gwaii’s experiment, as far as it concerns enhanced sockeye salmon production, is justifiable. Their timing and positioning of the iron dumping was meant to coincide with the migration of young fish into the ocean. Whether they achieved this precise timing and location will not be known for two years, when the 2012 adults return. Further, from the initial ocean monitoring , any potential risk of ecological damage, does not appear to have occurred.
Tim Parsons, Prof.Em. Dept.Earth Ocean.Atmos.Sci. UBC, Vancouver
His permission for us to use the letter.
Yes, please use the letter as you like. It has not appeared in the TC this morning although they have published a somewhat derogatory letter by a person unknown to me – cheers Tim
Dr. Parsons has made another observation on the CTV Website story about this project. He points out the mistaken point of view of CTV.
“The the Haida Gwaii iron dumping experiment is a window of opportunity because it was timed and placed where juvenile sockeye enter the ocean for the next two years of their life, returning in 2014. A similar event in 2008 was the fertilization of these waters with iron from a volcano which is believed to have caused the unprecedented run of 35 million sockeye in 2010. This opportunity to repeat such a salmon run seems to have been entirely missed by the press! – Dr. Tim Parsons Read more here…
World Wildlife Fund Endorses The Likely Need For Carbon Dioxide Management (aka Geoengineering)
While some might think that the green world is unanimous in its objection to what we are working to become knowledgeable of here’s what the World Wildlife Fund says.
6 SEPTEMBER 2012 WWF BLOG
For folks who haven’t been following this conversation, geo-engineering is an umbrella term for a wide range of approaches to reversing some of the impacts of climate change, usually involving some kind of pro-active scientific intervention or manipulation of the environment. These approaches fall into two main camps – solar radiation management (shortened to SRM) and carbon dioxide management (shortened to CDM).
The other set of geo-engineering approaches are concerned with drawing carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere, and so are called ‘carbon dioxide management’ or CDM approaches.
These options include: dumping iron filings in the oceans to encourage phytoplankton and algae to grow and photosynthesise.
So what is WWF’s view of all this? Certainly in a perfect world we wouldn’t support the idea of deliberately tampering with the Earth’s atmosphere. But to paraphrase the old joke, if you were to ask us how to get to a sustainable future, well, we wouldn’t start from here.
Sadly, in this imperfect world, the atmosphere has been interfered with since the industrial revolution. We’ve been digging up every bit of fossilised carbon fuel we can find and burning it, releasing its carbon back into the atmosphere.
So any approach that would allow us to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere without massive environmental side-effects would be extremely useful to know about, allowing us to add some ‘credits’ to the global carbon budget. This wouldn’t be enough to make a huge difference, and certainly it doesn’t offer an alternative to the global mitigation effort, but it might buy us a bit more time and compensate a little for some of our tardiness over the past few years.
So alongside our main efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through smarter use of sustainable energy and through reducing and reversing deforestation, WWF is cautiously supporting research into geo-engineering approaches in order to find out what is possible. Read more ….
SIERRA CLUB Oct 16, 2012
Existing policy to conserve ocean chemistry and biology embodies one or more of three strategies: reducing emissions of CO2, doing more and better ocean science and monitoring, and maintaining ecosystem resiliency by minimizing other environmental threats. The limitations of these strategies have led three prominent marine scientists to pose the obvious question – the one least often asked: “If stabilization of atmospheric CO2 at safe levels cannot or will not be achieved, and if critical marine species and ecosystems prove not to be resilient or able to adapt to elevated temperature and changing ocean chemistry, what are our options, if any, for protecting marine organisms and ecosystems?”
The degraded capacity of oceans to biologically fix and sequester carbon could be recovered and enhanced. This is all relevant but at the same time worrying. Worrying that we should be at the stage of seriously considering end-game options. We have been hoping that present strategies would work instead of actually implementing them. There is no point in simply transferring hope to another set of options, and if we are going to implement then let’s implement the low carbon revolution. And get serious about carbon sequestration. The world in need of the repair kit is not the one we want to live in. read more …
- Walter Schücking Institute for International Law, Christian-Albrechts-University of Kiel, Westring 400, 24098 Kiel, Germany
- IFM-GEOMAR, Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences, Düsternbrooker Weg 20, 24105 Kiel, Germany
- Department of Economics, Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel, Olshausenstraße 40, 24118 Kiel, Germany
- Kiel Institute for the World Economy, Düsternbrooker Weg 120, 24105 Kiel, Germany
Despite some uncertainties in the fertilization efficiency, natural iron fertilization studies and some of the purposeful iron enrichment studies have demonstrated that Southern Ocean iron fertilization can lead to a significant export of carbon from the sea surface to the ocean interior. From an economic perspective the potential of ocean iron fertilization (OIF) is far from negligible in relation to other abatement options. Comparing the range of cost estimates to the range of estimates for forestation projects they are in the same order of magnitude, but OIF could provide more carbon credits even if high discount rates are used to account for potential leakage and non-permanence. However, the uncertainty about undesired adverse effects of purposeful iron fertilization on marine ecosystems and biogeochemistry has led to attempts to ban commercial and, to some extent, scientific experiments aimed at a better understanding of the processes involved, effectively precluding further consideration of this mitigation option. As regards the perspective of public international law, the pertinent agreements dealing with the protection of the marine environment indicate that OIF is to be considered as lawful if and to the extent to which it represents legitimate scientific research. In this respect, the precautionary principle can be used to balance the risks arising out of scientific OIF activities for the marine environment with the potential advantages relevant to the objectives of the climate change regime. As scientific OIF experiments involve only comparatively small negative impacts within a limited marine area, further scientific research must be permitted to explore the carbon sequestration potential of OIF in order to either reject this concept or integrate it into the flexible mechanisms contained in the Kyoto Protocol. Buy the book …
Professor John Martin, the man who unravelled the Gordian Knot of ocean iron ecology, was besieged by controversy over his out-of-the-box approach. The oceanographer spent decades studying both the risks and the prize on the other side. “I will never advocate shoot-from-the-hip iron fertilization without the detailed research to understand it,” he wrote one critic, just before his death. But, he said, a little iron in the ocean might be preferable to a warmed climate. “I agree that the ideal would be to have the average American get out of his car; have the Chinese not develop their coal resources; have the Brazilians not cut down the rain forest,” he wrote. “However, we don’t live in an ideal world.”
He is featured on the Earth Observatory Website “On the Shoulders of Giants” as he was truly a man of giant intellect and invention. In July 1988, during at a lecture at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, oceanographer John Martin stood up and quipped in his best Dr. Strangelove accent, “Give me a half tanker of iron, and I will give you an ice age.” Martin was a man well known for giving a lecture which would stimulate conversation, and indeed he has.
These intellectually challenging words centered around a theory known as the iron hypothesis. Martin professed that by sprinkling an infinitesimally small amount of iron into certain areas of the ocean, known as high-nutrient, low-chlorophyll zones (HNLCs), one could replenish large blooms of those unicellular aquatic plants commonly known as algae. These ocean plants form the foundation of the ocean pasture food chain and if they might be restored to former abundance so would fish populations and all other marine life. If enough of these HNLC zones were replenished with iron, he believed the growth in algae would take in so much carbon from the atmosphere that they could reverse the greenhouse effect and cool the Earth.
Martin’s theory sparked a tremendous debate. Unlike most of the unusual, somewhat esoteric theories that float about the scientific community at any given time, Martin’s idea had teeth. It could be tested and it had the potential to impact the world on a short time scale. Many of Martin’s contemporaries reacted strongly others even wildly emotionally by claiming his iron hypothesis was ill founded. Some few felt that his “Geritol” solution to climate change was careless and hazardous for the environment. Corporations and even some countries, however, embraced the idea. They saw Martin’s results as a safe and affordable way to restore ocean productivity while reducing the effects of their own carbon dioxide and bring themselves within the emissions standards set up by the proposed Kyoto Protocol. Meanwhile, the press seized upon the story as a “tabloid” opportunity to take a swipe at science and portrayed Martin as a renegade scientist that came out of nowhere with a mission to prove everyone wrong, calling him “Johnny Ironseed” and “Iron Man.” Read more about John ….
John Martin’s idea of replenishing iron to restore ocean pastures became a major world scientific mission. To begin Prof. Martin was granted the funding to conduct the first open ocean experiment. His friend Watson Gregg of NASA had shown John satellite images of the tremendous natural blooms that are stimulated by iron that is released from the volcanic rock of the Galapagos Islands. The fact that the waters of the SE Pacific, outside of the iron saturated Galapagos waters have the lowest iron of ocean waters and the lowest plankton productivity made the choice of an experimental site obvious. Far to the west, downwind and down current, from the Galapagos replenishing a small patch of ocean pasture would be sandwiched between two perfect natural control conditions. Away and to one side of the iron experiment patch would be the spectacular iron fed blooms known as the Galapagos blooms, to the other side would be the desert like ocean pastures of the S.E. Pacific, the most critically collapsing open ocean pasture region on this blue planet. The experiment mission was planned and then tragically just a few months before the ship would sail John Martin was struck down by cancer and died. His friend Prof. Dick Barbour of Duke University took over as chief scientist to carry John’s work to fruition. Prof. Barbour told us the tale of the bloom that was created, “One morning I woke up in my bunk to a powerful smell permeating the ship, I was driven to follow my nose out to the aft deck of the ship, there many of the crew had apparently done likewise, and as we watched the sun rise I knew what the smell was, it was the smell of fresh mown hay, the ocean had bloomed!“
To date a dozen iron replenishment ocean pasture restoration experiments have taken place. Two have taken place where John Martin first choose the perfect experimental site far west of the Galapagos Islands. Upwards of a quarter of a billion dollars in public funds have supported this work. The most significant project to date, that of the Village of Old Massett is the biggest and best by an order of magnitude in: area of the ocean pasture, amount of iron replenished, time dedicated to scientific study before-during-after, and amount of scientific measurements made. Unlike the “BIG” science performed aboard luxury science vessels at vast expense to the public purse the village project has been accomplished for a fraction of the cost of the typical institutional “Big” science.
Here’s a description of the 118 meter long German luxury research ship Polarstern from which several iron experiments have been launched. ” In this cosmos of life on board, one can firstly enjoy the comfortable rooms equipped with hot-water, a telephone, a fridge, working desk and comfortable bunk beds. The meals can be eaten in any of the two comfy Serveries. Besides these, other facilities also include a Bakery, a lounge called the Red Salon, a bar called ‘Zillertal’, a sports gym with a small swimming pool and a sauna, shops to buy different daily requirements, a doctor’s chamber and a fully equipped Operation Room, a Laundromat, a library, an intranet, a TV station that plays videos and movies, a conference room, a smokers lounge, a table tennis board and a chamber for the Chief Scientist on board.” All provided at a cost quoted several years ago of €77,OOO/day not including fuel! Read more…
Plant life in the world’s oceans has become less productive since the early 1980s, absorbing less carbon, which may in turn impact the Earth’s carbon cycle, according to a study that combines NASA satellite data with NOAA surface observations of marine plants.
“This research shows ocean primary productivity is declining, and it may be a result of climate changes such as increased temperatures and decreased iron deposition into parts of the oceans. This has major implications for the global carbon cycle,” NASA Scientist Watson Gregg said. Iron from trans-continental dust clouds is an important nutrient for phytoplankton, and when lacking can keep populations from growing.” The authors found nearly 70 percent of the Net Primary Productivity/Plankton growth (NPP) global decline per decade occurred in the high latitudes (above 30 degrees). In the North Pacific and North Atlantic basins, phytoplankton bloom rapidly in high concentrations in spring, leading to shorter, more intense life-cycles. In these areas, plankton quickly dies and can sink to the ocean floor, creating a potential pathway of carbon from the atmosphere into the deep ocean.
Click images above to expand view
It’s All About Us
World Class Science Village Style
This Village project has always been about becoming the most learned and caring stewards of our ocean pasture that we can become.
No right minded person assumes this to be either an easy or speedy task.
One does however need to start, which is what the Village of Old Massett empowered the Haida Salmon Restoration Project to do.
As of January we’ve counted our 14th month of legitimate and physical scientific presence, making measurements and collecting samples, in our ocean study region in the western part of our traditional Haida Gwaii home.
This village work was many years in planning, public review, and authorization. Village documentation shows no fewer than eight federal government ministries were consulted over the course of more than five years!
As of now we’ve collected over 168 million discrete measurements, and no that’s not a typo the number is 168,000,000 and counting, scientific measurements, physical water collections from surface to the deep abyss, biological collections, and myriad instrument observations. We’ve done this work both inside and outside our blooming pasture. The ocean pasture lies in what is known as the ocean commons, this is neither a “no man’s land” nor “one man’s land.”, rather it is an ocean territory held in common by all nations. This means that even landlocked nations also have as domestic territory their own oceans owned in common but never-the-less their domestic ocean. The particular ocean pasture for which we have become stewards is recognized by the Village of Old Massett as an ocean pasture ignored by all and left in a state of cataclysmic ecological collapse. This village and company is making a start of ocean pasture stewardship. On land villages of the Neolithic period began to assume similar stewardship of their neighbouring pastures more than 10,000 years ago.
In the winter and spring months (2011-2012) using ships of opportunity we repeatedly collected data and water samples. These were brought to our Vancouver research office and also sent to outside third party laboratories for analysis. In June we really ramped up the our science program with our Slocum Gliders “ocean science dream machines.” The first glider, Nunkayoss, (Haida meaning “the one I found”) was sent in June from Vancouver Island programmed to glide north to the ocean west of Haida Gwaii and the famous Haida Eddy, it phoned home every 3 hours with discrete measurements. These gliders have been repeatedly used all summer, Nunkayoss’ sister glider is Scidaanas (the Haida name for a seabird), they will shortly head back to sea to continue monitoring and measuring. We deployed and left behind another 20 autonomous ocean measuring robots that phone home each hour with more data and will continue to do so for the next year.
Note that the 2008 volcano bloom was followed two years later by a 4000% increase in Sockeye Salmon returning to the Fraser River, a run of salmon equal to the largest runs in history. No deleterious effects have been reported from that summer of ocean abundance. Canada’s most revered fisheries scientist, Dr. Tim Parson’s with co-author Dr. Frank Whitney, have written about the volcanic bloom and salmon. They state in their paper: “We hypothesize the volcanic emission of iron-rich dust in 2008 (ed. note 1.5 million tonnes) that caused a massive late summer bloom of diatoms enhanced the food chain for young sockeye salmon in the Gulf shortly after they migrated into their oceanic habitat. Experimental evidence exists that salmon production can be enhanced directly by the addition of nutrients…” Read Dr. Tim Parson’s story of the volcano and the salmon…
This fall, 2012, we are witnessing another volcanic salmon miracle with the return of the largest runs of Chum salmon seen in nearly a century. The Chum salmon in our streams and rivers now went to sea in the summer of 2008, they spend 4 years at sea instead of the 2 years of the Sockeye. Again the benefits of the volcano’s “school” lunch program which grew abundant plankton blooms is being seen in the super abundance of returning salmon. The Chum salmon returning this year are not only in the greatest numbers they are also returning as the largest in individual fish size. It is clear that when the dust returns and replenishes the ocean and the ocean blooms our salmon are restored to historic healthy abundance!
The series of satellite images below shows the plankton abundance during the month of August in our study region over the past 6 years. Note the super intense blooms in 2008 that resulted from the August 2008 Kasotochi Volcanic ash fall of more than a million tonnes of ash. Also note the natural blooms near shore that occur every year. The approximate area of the restored Village ocean pasture is bracketed in the 2012 image.
CROWD SOURCING SCIENCE: An Open Invitation To The Science Community
More Measurements Arriving Every Hour! Help Us Work With This Treasure Trove Of Data.
In July when our research ship and science team set sail and until its return in September more than a 168 million new discrete measurements and samples were collected. Even today new observations and measurements continue to pour in from instruments we deployed in our large study area. Every day thousands of discrete measurements arrive at the HSRC research facility in Vancouver. Sampling devices were left behind sea anchored in the bloom, these will hopefully be retrieved over time to provide an integrated composite measurement. This vast library of measurements once processed and reviewed will become the words in our book of knowledge and stewardship on the Tang Gwan.
As of the New Year we are very pleased and humbled at the words and offers of good will and help from scientists all over the world offering us advice and hands on help with our work. We now have agreements in place with some of these scientists as part of our “crowd sourced science” program and work has begun with this very welcome assistance to study our treasure trove of data. Samples and data are now flying around the world to facilitate this truly World Wide Science effort. Thanks to those of you helping.
We have just scratched the surface of our science work. If you are a qualified and earnest scientist and would like to help us we invite you to contact us… to start a conversation send an email to email@example.com.
John Disney speaking at our 19 October 2012 Press Conference hosted by the Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre
That’s Chief Rea of the Village in ceremonial head dress and his typical business suit, other Village Councillors stand with him.
About the iron … few people know that the amount of iron needed to replenish and restore the ocean pastures is an incredibly tiny amount. Here’s a photo that show how thinly the iron was spread. If you recall how to play the game Where’s Waldo you’ll be just fine understanding. The amount on the slip of paper in the picture below is the amount spread over 1 sq. meter, keep in mind that it became promptly diluted over an even larger area and into a the depths of ocean water at least 10 meters deep to produce the bloom. We were seeking to obtain concentrations of iron measured in parts per trillion, similar to what the volcano accomplished. To put this in context if a fish or you or I have less than 100 parts per million iron in our bodies we are dangerously anaemic. The majority of the worlds oceans are today dangerously anaemic. That anaemia is treated with a carefully prescribed and formulated dose that is one millionth the dose of iron your doctor might have prescribed to treat anaemia in you or your children.
This is 0.037 grams of iron, in this case red iron ore called hematite. It’s the amount spread over each square meter of ocean. It is similar to the amount of iron that would be delivered if one used instead a teaspoon of sand from a child’s sandbox.
Is this iron fertilization. Someone might suggest adding fertilizer from the local lawn and garden store to the oceans to promote growth. The concentration of common fertilizer given to make a lawn green up raises the nitrate levels by parts per thousand in the soil. That’s a billion times the concentration of iron this village project sought to replenish in our ocean pasture.
Economist Magazine Report on Ocean Glider Dream Machines, just like the two Slocum glider being deployed by the Village of Old Massett
Want to learn more about salmon of the North Pacific produced by the Wild Salmon Center in Oregon www.wildsalmoncenter.org
It Is The Law!
The Supreme Court Revisiting Corporate Accountability: BCE Inc. in search of a legal construct known as the “Good Corporate Citizen.”
“To be clear, it remains apparent that corporate profit is the primary feature of directors’ fiduciary responsibility, however the injection of the ‘good corporate citizen’ standard may suggest that this is not the only legal mandate or objective of a corporation.”
This is of course a guiding principal and practice of the people who manage HSRC on behalf of its shareholders, the majority shareholder being the Old Massett Village Council on behalf of the people of the Village of Old Massett. This ought to make it clear that working to bring the fish back which doesn’t have an easily definable path to cash monetization is perfectly consistent with exploring eco-asset creation and monetization. It is the duty and honor of the management of HSRC to cast a very broad net in search of every possible means of cost recovery and long term sustainable operation of the company.
“The Ship Of Opportunity Program (SOOP) is a component of the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), whose mission is to provide a global platform to deploy and operate oceanographic instrumentation from cargo ships and research vessels. This program is responsible for the maintenance of AOML’s XBT Network as well as the implementation of Thermosalinograph observations in support of AOML’s pCO2 program. It has no mechanism nor history of requiring information of a ships work, save through the asking of questions by the NOAA officer involved, nor of passing judgment on “ships of opportunity. The program has long stated that it’s mandate is to make use of the good will and generosity provided by ships of opportunity to deploy these important instruments on behalf of the Global Ocean Observing system. Without the help of ships of opportunity only a fraction of this vital ocean network would have been and continue to be deployed. ” We are happy to have afforded the opportunity for our research ship to deploy 20 Argos drifter buoys We were told that the most important part of the program getting more drifters out to sea, especially in regions like the NE Pacific where almost none have been deployed is key to the success of this international program. We were fully qualified as a participant in the “ships of opportunity” program and of course did not charge NOAA for any part of the very considerable cost in doing our part for global ocean science and deploying the drifters.
Phytoplankton is the smallest and most plentiful form of plant-life on the planet, yet it acts as the world’s largest biological pump, essential to the health of ocean ecosystems and marine life. Their animal cousins, the zooplankton, consume millions of tons of marine plants daily, supplying the ocean with an abundance of food and playing an important role in the transport of nutrients. The decline of the phytoplankton, the grass of ocean pastures, has resulted in collapsing salmon survival and the people of Old Massett are taking it upon themselves to save those all important pastures. By replenishing the eddies in which phytoplankton thrive, the village Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation hopes to restore this primary food source and sustain a healthy supply of food all the way up the food chain.
The Haida Salmon Restoration Project: The Story So Far September 2012
The Haida (Hi Da) Salmon Restoration project is nearing completion of its ship borne work and the team of sailors, scientists, and fishers are now heading to the Haida Village of Old Massett and home. This summer the crew has been aboard ship engaging in what is surely the most substantial ocean restoration project in history. In a large ocean eddy west of Haida Gwaii the project has replenished vital ocean mineral micronutrients, with the expectation and hope it would restore ten thousand square kilometers of ocean pasture to health. Indeed this has occurred and the waters of the Haida eddy have turned from clear blue and sparse of life into a verdant emerald sea lush with the growth of a hundred million tonnes of plankton and the entire food chain it supports. The growth of those tonnes of plankton derives from vast amounts of CO2 now diverted from becoming deadly ocean acid and instead made that same CO2 become ocean life itself.
For weeks the men and women, on this village team toiled in stormy overcast weather and fog without a hint of blue sky. In mid-August the skies cleared and revealed the wonder of the mission on which they have laboured. Satellites focused on ocean health that monitor and measure plankton blooms sent back stunning images. Far offshore in these Haida salmon pastures a vast plankton bloom is revealed matching the health and vibrancy of blooms seen in rich coastal waters. The return of such blooms is “the stuff dreams are made of” for all ocean life.
In addition to the focused study the accomplished mission of the project also included detailed oceanographic studies of the near-by Bowie Sea-Mount Marine Protected area, the near shore and famous Haida Eddy, and the coastal ocean from Vancouver north to the study region.
The greatest migration on Earth.
Each day and night the sonars and other instruments reveal a rapid change in the bloom. As the phytoplankton bloom grows tiny zooplankton that graze upon those ocean plants respond both in number and behaviour.
During daylight hours the zooplankton are 300 meters down resting on the “deep thermocline” layer. As daylight wanes each evening their nightly migration to the surface pastures begins. There they engorge themselves with the blooms “fresh greens.” By morning light they swim back to the dark depths and safety where like bucolic cows they rest and digest.
The team is here to watch, measure, and captures samples of this ‘greatest migration’ on Earth. Russ George the chief scientist describes the spectacle, “It is as if we are perched in a tree on the great plains of Africa privileged to witness the great herds of beasts as they run past. Here there are animals of every size and shape albeit in mostly miniature planktonic forms. We see the salps, jellies, copepods, amphipods, krill, and more.” Mysteriously rare and missing are the pteropods but that’s another story.
Sea life from near and far are drawn to an ocean oasis.
That this wondrous plankton growth is beneficial is perfectly clear as is seen in the immediate shift from scarcity to abundance in sea life of all kinds. Spouting plumes of misty breath from the great whales, Fins, Seis, Sperms, and Orcas reveal the most obvious herds attracted to and now thriving on this renewed pasture. Two months ago, before the bloom, whale sightings were so few that not more than five or six were seen during weeks at sea. Now every day shows at least that many, some days whales are counted by the score. read the entire narrative here…
Here’s a message from our president, John Disney (Village of Old Massett Economic Development Officer)
(Interviewed by the World Wildlife Fund several years ago as it appears on the WWF YouTube Channel)
This blue planet is 71% water and only 29% earth ( This includes the 10% covered by ice caps and glaciers so really 81% of this blue planet is water!).
Humans, all 7 billion of us today, have been tending to the Earth for thousands of years. In doing so we have modified the natural world in countless ways and to an enormous degree.
43% of the land area of the Earth has been converted to human use. That’s 12.5% of the total area of the planet. That’s 60 million km2.
37% of the land area has been converted to agriculture, 54 million km2
3% of the land is covered by cities and settlements, last year cities grew and covered an additional 58,000 km2. Cities cover nearly 5 million km2 and growing.
Here’s our how our planet is laid out.
There is a whole lot of ocean and ice, lots of rocky mountain and barren desert, and just a wee bit of dry-lands and arable lands. It’s on that wee bit that we all live and we’ve modified the vast part of that wee bit to our liking. In the oceans we’ve simply ignored it in large part save a tiny percentage along the shores. The entire area of the worlds continental shelves is less than 10% of the ocean area. Of that continental shelf area less than 1% is occupied by humans. So the oceans remain 99.9% untouched by the hand of man, save that we treat the oceans like wild hunting grounds where we pursue and kill wild marine life, each other via our navy’s, and drive 50,000 large cargo ships across the oceans on a daily basis.
Worst of all our 100 year gluttony for fossil fuels has resulted in the emission of a trillion tonnes of CO2 entering the atmosphere and oceans. Almost all of those trillion tonnes of CO2 are slowly mixing in the ocean waters and as they do H2O + CO2 = H2CO3 carbonic acid. With only 1/3 of the trillion tonnes of CO2 absorbed to date the oceans have already become 30% more acidic (less neutral) than they were a century ago. The remaining CO2 from the first dose we’ve administered, yesterdays lethal over dose, will continue to kill ocean life. The phytoplankton are the only force on earth that can convert that deadly CO2 from becoming ocean death and turn it into ocean life itself.
The acidification of the world’s oceans from an excess of CO2 has already begun, as evidenced recently by the widespread mortality of oyster larvae in the Pacific Northwest. Scientists say this is just a harbinger of things to come if greenhouse gas emissions continue to soar.
Environment360 November 2011
Standing on the shores of Netarts Bay in Oregon on a sunny fall morning, it’s hard to imagine that the fate of the oysters being raised here at the Whiskey Creek Shellfish Hatchery is being determined by what came out of smokestacks and tailpipes in the 1960s and ‘70s. But this rural coastal spot and the shellfish it has nurtured for centuries are a bellwether of one of the most palpable changes being caused by global carbon dioxide emissions and ocean acidification. read more …
Aug. 6 2012 – Global shellfish populations are under increasing pressure brought about by ocean acidification. Scientists from the British Antarctic Survey say that oysters, mussels and crabs are finding it more difficult to develop their shells, making them vulnerable to predators and an overall decline that could impact other parts of the ecosystem. Jim Drury of Reuters reports.
Fossil fuel-burning is acidifying the oceans and, up until recently, it has generally been thought that the greatest risk posed by ocean acidification was the change to seawater carbon chemistry. This is because rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide reduce the concentration of seawater carbonate ions, a vital building-block in the shells and skeletons of many marine life. Fish were not thought to be at direct risk from acidification, because they clearly don’t build shells, and were considered to have well-developed physical mechanisms to tolerate falling pH (acidification).
Several studies published in the journal Nature Climate Change, Baumann (2011) andFrommel (2011), indicate that this might not be the case. Fish may, in fact, be seriously threatened by ocean acidification. Although adult fish seem well-equipped to deal with low pH waters, or higher levels of CO2 in seawater, their egg and larval life stages, a typically vulnerable time for all marine life, may not be so fortunate.
The vitriolic attacks on this noble village work by the news media is a story that is more like and reflective of an obituary on the murder of the Fourth Estate this time not by the usual suspects of big industry and corrupt government but rather by big science, dirty greens, and their hysterical media shills.
We offer our sad eulogy in this passing of the Fourth Estate:
Joseph Pulitzer’s idea was a noble one and we shall miss it as we do him. He wrote, we should “never be satisfied with merely printing news.” It “should always fight for progress and reform; never tolerate injustice or corruption; always fight demagogues of all parties…always oppose privileged classes and public plunderer; never lack sympathy with the poor; always remain devoted to the public welfare…”
Death of the Fourth Estate
The press, in theory, is supposed to safeguard democratic principles. During a parliamentary debate in 1787, Edmund Burke supposedly referred to the press corps reporting the activities of the House of Commons as the Fourth Estate. Hypothetically, the press was the champion of the public.
According to its supporters, the Fourth Estate acted as a mediator between the public and the elite. Journalists listened to and recorded the activities of those with power. An enthusiastic John Dewey believed that the public was capable of understanding and discussing policies and should be part of the public vetting process. Thus, the press would provide a forum where the people could weigh the consequences of policies being considered by those who governed. Hence, the journalist’s foremost duty was to tell the truth. But, over the years there has been an erosion of the public trust in the Fourth Estate… Edward R. Murrow must be turning over in his grave. The media has abrogated any duty to objectively inform the public. read more ….
On the other hand…
So long and thanks for all the fish