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View Full Version : Geoengineering: Open Sea Mariculture.



mtn. man
08-10-2014, 05:14 PM
I just read an interesting ( STS ) article about a 2012 experiment performed by the Haida tribe in British Columbia, and scientist Russ George. The experiment was to demonstrate the feasibility of open-sea mariculture.
They distributed 120 tons of iron sulfate into the northeast pacific to stimulate a phytoplankton bloom. This bloom would provide ample food for baby salmon. Apparently, this was a huge success, quadrupling the catch of salmon in the years to follow.

It would also appear that the experiment had a ray of hope in the fight against global warming, by providing a food source for zooplankton, which in turn absorb carbon dioxide in their shells.
I was very surprised to read that the experiment was not welcomed by most of the scientific and environmental communities. In fact, it received just the opposite.

I think that we need to be VERY careful when it comes to messing with mother nature and her delicate balance. But, I also know that WE have done a lot of irreversible damage. Maybe at this point, mother nature could use a little help.

Did anyone else read this article? and what are your thoughts, especially those of you in the business of science.

salmonid
08-10-2014, 05:22 PM
Heard of that as well, mtn.

One thought is that it wasn't really an experiment at all, I mean how many salmon would be around if they didn't add those nutrients? That was a good year for salmon up there, after all.

Also, 120 tons in the ocean is kind of a drop in the bucket and very hard to conclude if it made any difference at all.

My thoughts would be do no MORE harm to the environment than we already have. Our "improving" of mother nature hasn't worked out so well for fish so far!

Best,

mtn. man
08-10-2014, 06:19 PM
Point taken. I think one of the reasons it wasn't excepted as a viable experiment, is because it was done kind of "under the cuff " and although they did receive and record data, one year is no way near enough data to make an accurate conclusion, it wasn't done with the blessing and knowledge of more of the scientific community.

I do however, think that we need to spend more effort on trying to find a way to help fix our polluted and dying oceans. I know nature has a way of righting the wrongs of our selfish ways, but mother natures cure just might be our demise.

Lets just hope we don't screw things up more than we already have......

salmonid
08-10-2014, 08:03 PM
I do however, think that we need to spend more effort on trying to find a way to help fix our polluted and dying oceans. I know nature has a way of righting the wrongs of our selfish ways, but mother natures cure just might be our demise.

Lets just hope we don't screw things up more than we already have......

Agreed, buddy! I think we should start by improving the freshwater and delta habitat that salmon and other species need to complete their life cycle. Not sure how practical it is ($$), but fish passage around dams would be great for the fish, as well as much reduced water exports from the delta.

Best,

fishfilA
08-20-2014, 04:18 PM
Really interesting stuff, I studied some iron fertilization efforts when I was in college. You should look up the Ironex I and II experiments, they were some of the first attempts at this type of large-scale geoengineering. Many of these experiments have successfully increased the algal productivity of the ocean areas where they were conducted, but there's very little understanding so far of what the unanticipated consequence may entail. Dumping nutrients in the oceans can also be construed as violations of international sea protocols, and there's no real governing body that can oversee them. Additionally, the experiments aren't really controlled in that there's no untreated group to compare results to. As a result, the scientific and environmental communities generally frown upon this work despite its promise for combating climate change. I tend to agree, as history tends to show that our attempts to engineer our way out of environmental issues rarely succeed and often compound our problems.