1. Introduction

Seafood poisoning from marine toxins is an under recognized hazard, particularly in the tropics and subtropics. The risk is increasing because of factors such as climate change, coral reef damage, and spread of toxic algal blooms. Ciguatera Fish Poisoning (CFP) is the most problematic among 20,000 - 50,000 reported cases of poisonings every year in the world. In the region, despite that it was reported in sporadic cases, scientists become more and more concerned, as CFP occurs mainly in tropical and subtropical coral areas and many cases might not be reported due to lack of expertise in toxins chemistry, effective methods and facilities in the region for Ciguatoxins (CTXs) identification.

Since its initiation in 2010, the IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC), through its project on Toxic Marine Organisms (TMO), has been making efforts in addressing the challenges on CFP, with a focus to build research capacity and strengthen the knowledge base for marine toxins research and analysis in the region. The project has been developed with joint efforts of several research institutions in the region, and with great technical assistance of the Institute of Oceanography (IO), Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), Vietnam and the National Research Institute of Fisheries Science (NRIFS), Japan.

In 2018-2020, the TMO project would continue its efforts in strengthening the knowledge base and capacity for marine toxins research and analysis. To this end, the training workshop on “Applying analytical method for detecting Ciguatoxins (CTXs) in fish” was planned and will take place in the Institute of Oceanography, VAST, Vietnam, 5 - 9 April 2018, with the financial support of UNESCO/Japanese Funds-in-Trust for Scientific Programmes on Global Challenges in Asia and the Pacific Region.


2. Objective and Scope of the Training Workshop

The training workshop aims to:

  • exchange scientific knowledge on ciguatoxin laden fish, responsible ciguatoxins and experience in combating CFP problems;
  • strengthen capacity for ciguatoxin analysis in the region.

The training workshop will be generously supported by the Institute of Oceanography (IO), Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), Vietnam. IO will provide facilities and efficient tools for biotoxin analysis in the VAST key lab on “Food and Environmental Safety.” Trainees will benefit from invited experts in toxin chemistry, biology, ecology and toxic microalgal research, especially on CTXs and their producers.

The training workshop will run for 5 days, consisting of plenary seminar and hands-on lab analysis. On the first day, all participants are expected to share information on the current situation of CFP within their countries and their research/action plans on this subject. Subsequently a series of expert lectures will be delivered, respectively on biology, ecology of CTXs producers in the region; origin, feature and accumulated mechanism of CTXs in marine food web; analytical methods to identify CTXs in seafood. The next three days will be dedicated to hands-on exercises in lab including the procedure of extraction, clean-up, purification of CTXs from fish, preparation of mobile phases, running LC/MS-MS system to analyze CTXs and evaluation of obtained data. The last day will be planned for plenary discussions and workplan development.


3. Working Language

The training workshop will be conducted in English.


4. Trainees and Financial Assistance

Applicants will be selected, with a priority given to those who work on marine toxins with at least one year experience in chemical/biochemical lab and have a plan to work on Ciguatera in their countries.

Interested participants are encouraged to join the event with their own financial resources. A limited funding will be provided to these who are in need. Given the limited financial resources available, a joint committee will be established for the selection of most suitable participants that would be provided with financial support. Updated information on the workshop will be made available, in due course, at this page.


5. Deadline of Application

All applicants are required to send the registration form duly completed to Dr Dao Viet Ha at the Institute of Oceanography (daovietha69@gmail.com), with a copy to Ms Nachapa Saransuth at the WESTPAC Office (n.saransuth@unesco.org), before 2 March 2018.


6. Visa

Selected trainees travelling to Vietnam probably need to apply for entry visa to Vietnam in accordance with relevant laws and regulations. Please check the visa requirements with the Vietnamese Embassy/Consulate in your country and apply for it as soon as possible. The local secretariat (Dr. Dao Viet Ha) will be glad to provide you any assistance upon your request.


7. Contact

Dr Dao Viet Ha
Principal Researcher & Vice Director
Institute of Oceanography, Vietnamese Academy of Science and Technology
01 Cau Da Street, Nha Trang City, Khanh Hoa Province, Vietnam
Tel: +85 58 3590218; Fax: +84 58 3590034
Email: daovietha69@gmail.com

Ms Nachapa Saransuth
IOC Sub-Commission for the Western Pacific (WESTPAC)
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO
E-mail: n.saransuth@unesco.org