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Supporting International Efforts to Prevent, Control and Mitigate Ciguatera Fish Poisoning Using Nuclear Techniques

8 May 2015
The Asia and Pacific region, including small island developing states, are under threat, year round, from seafood toxicity caused by marine algae. Biotoxins not only affect public health, but have socioeconomic development consequences, as well. 
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Aquatic products are essential to developing countries; both because they are a major source of protein and because they are the most highly-traded food internationally. 
As part of a regional IAEA technical cooperation project to reduce the impacts of harmful algae on seafood safety, participants from China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Marshall Islands, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Thailand, Viet Nam and Wallis and Futuna attended a recent IAEA workshop in Tahiti, French Polynesia on ciguatera (a toxin) fish poisoning field monitoring. The workshop consisted of a series of lectures, together with laboratory and field training. There were also demonstrations on harmful algal bloom species sample collection, using novel passive monitoring devices. Close up of deployed window screen artificial substrate for collection of benthic (ocean floor dwelling) harmful algal bloom (HAB) species. Workshop participants also took part in practical training on the deployment of window screen artificial substrate for collection of benthic HAB species. The window screens were placed in sampling jars at the end of a 24 hour collection periodAfter sample collection, participants performed on-site sample preparation of plant samples. Laboratory training on sample preparation techniques was also provided to the participants. Demonstrations were also give on algae identification and isolation using light microscopy techniques, as well as toxin extraction, and analysis of fish and algal samples using radioligand receptor binding assay (RBA). Workshop participants also received laboratory training on extracting toxins from samples. Local media was very interesting in the workshop. The workshop has strengthened the knowledge and expertise of professionals, and will help to extend monitoring capabilities for ciguatera toxins. Photos: 
IAEA, and Ms Clemence Gatti, 
Laboratoire des Micro-algues Toxiques Institut Louis Malarde, 
Tahiti, French Polynesia. 
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Graphics and captions: Hazel Pattison

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