Sunday, June 16, 2013

Legally binding ban proposed on ocean fertilisation

Dyna Rochmyaningsih in Australia has joined with Nigeria and South Korea to propose a legally binding ban on commercial ocean fertilisation. But the move would not prevent legitimate scientific research, according to Tony Burke, Australian Minister of the Environment.

The proposal was sent to the London Convention and Protocol, which governs marine pollution and dumping at sea, on 16 May, and it will be considered when signatory nations meet in October.

Ocean fertilisation is a controversial geoengineering technique in which nutrient particles like iron, phosphorous and nitrogen are poured into the sea to induce growth of photosynthetic microorganisms — known as phytoplankton — that can fix carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

When phytoplankton die and sink they transfer carbon into the deep ocean, but their growth is usually limited in nutrient-poor water. The technique has attracted scientific and commercial interest as a way to generate carbon credits, and as a potential climate change mitigation mechanism. Some also proposed it as a way to boost fish populations.

Last year, American businessman Russ George, then a director of the Haida Salmon Restoration Corporation, dumped 100 tonnes of iron near the Haida Gwaii Islands, off the coast of Western Canada. The aim was to increase phytoplankton populations, thereby boosting marine productivity — and eventually the salmon population. The act enraged scientists and environmentalists, many of whom say iron fertilisation is unscientific and unproven, especially on a large-scale....

GUANTANAMO BAY, Cuba (Feb. 10, 2012) Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Shane Tuck films diving operations off the coast of Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. Expeditionary Combat Camera's Underwater Photo Team conducts semi-annual training to hone its divers' specialized skill set and ensure valuable support of Department of Defense activities worldwide. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Jayme Pastoric/Released) 120210-N-XD935-048 

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