Whether that occurred in this case remains unknown, although the bloom faded by September. Regardless, the international attention does not seem to have slowed the HSRC's interest in releasing more iron. "It's part of our business plan," McNamee said at the press conference on October 19.
It may come down to money. The original experiment was funded with $2.5 million in funds from the Old Masset Village Council, a borrowed sum that represents more than 20 percent of the annual budget for this village of 2,500 people. In the loan approval from February 2011, the bank that provided the cash for the expedition raised concerns about both the legality and legitimacy of the project, including whether any carbon credits would ever be sold as a result of the project to help defray the expense, according to documents released by environmental group Living Oceans Society.
"Ultimately, as far as the people of Old Masset are concerned, there's only one jury that will decide whether or not this experiment was a success," argued lawyer James Straith at the press conference. "That jury's out right now in the North Pacific, and it's going to constitute millions of salmon, and they'll render their verdict in the summer of 2014."
Or as Chief Councillor Rea said at the same press conference: "In recent years something has happened in our oceans. The salmon are gone." It remains to be demonstrated whether dumping iron at sea will be able to affect that loss—or have any impact on the rise of carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere.
With additional reporting by Anne Casselman.