Northwest Fisheries Science Center

Local and international training classes on seafood safety and harmful algal blooms

Recent increases in harmful algal bloom (HAB) events have caused damage to fisheries and disturbance of ecosystems in the Pacific Rim. With 70% of world fisheries products trade, increasing HAB events will undoubtedly greatly interfere with sustainable development of coastal fisheries and the trade of fisheries products of the Pacific countries. This will be a particularly egregious problem for developing countries where the fisheries and marine tourism occupy a large and growing portion of their national economics.

As the first step to minimize the impact and expansion of harmful organisms and to lower the occurrence of fisheries damage, it is essential to establish monitoring programs that will recognize the expansion of harmful organisms and to establish a free exchange of this information in the Pacific Rim. Current scientific research and monitoring of HABs are insufficient to guarantee seafood safety. In particular, the, classification and/or identification of the harmful microorganisms needed for an effective monitoring program is not common in developing countries.

This project provides training to local partners as well as developing nations in the development of effective monitoring programs for harmful algae as well as their biotoxins in seafood and seawater. To date, training classes have been held for Puget Sound partners (SoundToxins) and outer coast Olympic Region Harmful Algal Blooms (ORHAB) collaborators as well as for government agencies in the Philippines, Indonesia and Guatemala as part of the North Pacific Marine Science Organization's (PICES) program on Seafood Safety in Developing Nations. A training class is currently being planned for India in 2014.

The International Training program was sponsored by the Government of Japan's Ministry of Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF).

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