Organizers: Mireille Chinain1, Susanna Piovano2, Jean Turquet & Marie-Yasmine Dechraoui-Bottein4

Affiliations: 1/ Laboratory of Toxic Micro-Algae, Institut Louis Malardé, UMR 241-EIO, French Polynesia, 2/ School of Marine Studies, Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment, The University of the South Pacific, Fiji; 3/ Cellule Biotechnologies et Environnement Marin, Hydrô Réunion, La Réunion; 4/ International Atomic Energy Agency- Environment Laboratories, 98000 Monaco

Email: mchinain@ilm.pf; susanna.piovano@usp.ac.fj;Turquet.arda@orange.fr;M-Y.Bottein@iaea.org

Lead contact: Mireille Chinain

Description: Fish products are the nutritional basis of many island populations globally. Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) results from the consumption of fish that have accumulated ciguatoxins (CTXs) produced by benthic dinoflagellates in the genera Gambierdiscus and Fukuyoa. Over the past decades, the frequency and distribution of CFP have increased significantly in the Indo-Pacific region, a likely consequence of numerous environmental changes in coastal and lagoon ecosystems. Despite increased knowledge about the impacts of climatic cycles and biogeography of Gambierdiscus, ciguatera events are still very difficult to predict. Likewise, the uptake, tissue distribution, accumulation and toxicity of CTXs in fish are still poorly understood. The existence of numerous structural variants (congeners) of the toxin, and the lack of a duly validated reference test for CTXs both constitute a major obstacle in the sustainable exploitation of fish resources. In addition to the direct effects of ciguatera on public health and the economy of nations highly dependent on fish consumption, the fear of ciguatera often leads to reduced fishing in many indigenous Pacific populations, which reminds us that the impact of ciguatera risk must also be examined from sociological and societal perspectives and not only from a public health standpoint. Recently, several initiatives to implement a more efficient management of CFP risk globally have emerged within the scientific community. The main objective of this session is to present the recent advances in these research fields and to foster networking between scientists and stakeholders concerned with seafood safety.

Expected Audience: The targeted audience includes researchers (biologists, eco-toxicologist, modelists, economists, etc.) and managers interested in marine biotoxins and seafood safety issues. A group of 20 attendees from the Pacific region, Japan, Europe, and La Réunion is expected.