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Speech

Canada’s Intervention made by
Sue Milburn-Hopwood
Head of the Canadian Delegation
at the 34th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the London Convention
and 7th Meeting of the Contracting Parties to the London Protocol
on the Ocean Fertilization occurring off Canada’s West Coast
London, England
October 29, 2012

Thank you Madame Chair for the opportunity to provide the Contracting Parties with some details on the ocean fertilization incident that occurred off Canada’s west coast over the summer of 2012.

However, before I do so, I would like to reaffirm that Canada agrees with the 2008 and 2010 resolutions under the London Convention and London Protocol in which Parties agreed, by consensus, that ocean fertilization activities, other than legitimate scientific research should not be allowed.

Canada is also in agreement that activities other than those which have been assessed using the Assessment Framework adopted in 2010, and found by a Contracting party, to qualify as Legitimate scientific research, should be considered as contrary to the aims of the Convention and Protocol and would not currently qualify for any exemption from the definition of dumping.

Following the 2010 resolution we have all been working towards a global, transparent and effective control and regulatory mechanism for ocean fertilization and other activities within the scope of our treaties that have the potential to harm the marine environment. Canada has been a very active contributor to the Working Group on Ocean Fertilization contributing proposals to the working group, hosting an intersessional Working Group meeting in Montreal in June of 2011 and providing a neutral chair to the Working Group for three meetings. We will continue to actively support the valuable and forward-looking work that is being done by Parties on this issue.

The press coverage of the activity that took place off Canada’s west coast this summer has been substantial and Canada is concerned about the proponent’s claims that their activity was legal and by implication that the Canadian government had sanctioned it.

We wish to stress that the Government of Canada did not authorize this activity nor did we receive any details from the proponent about the proposed activity in advance that would have allowed an assessment of the project.

On Aug 29 Environment Canada’s Enforcement Branch was notified of an alleged “ocean fertilization incident off Canada’s West Coast, in international waters. On Aug 30 a formal investigation was launched and this investigation continues to this day. In order not to jeopardize the investigation I am unable to provide you with further details on the alleged incident.

The Government of Canada continues to track the impacts of this fertilization event.

I believe this fertilization incident drives home the importance and the urgent need for the Contracting Parties to complete the work towards a global, transparent and effective control and regulatory mechanism for ocean fertilization and, other activities within the scope of our treaties that have the potential to harm the marine environment

I would like to conclude my remarks by reinforcing the point that the Government of Canada takes this matter very seriously and reaffirms its commitment to taking the necessary measures to protect the environment, and to actively support the London Protocol and the London Convention.