The IOC/WESTPAC project on “Toxic marine organisms and their toxins” (IOC/WESTPAC-TMO)
Project leader: Dr. Dao Viet Ha, Head of Department of Biochemistry, Institute of Oceanography, Nha Trang, Vietnam
Members: Cheng Chu Liu (China), Chee Yew Leong (Singapore), PoTeen Lim (Malaysia), Samsur Mohamad (Malaysia), Ulysses M. Montojo (Philippines), Somchai Bussarawit (Thailand), Pham Xuan Ky (Vietnam), Masaaki Kodama and Yasuwo Fukuyo (Japan).
A project “Enhance the awareness on toxic marine organisms” proposed by Vietnam was approved at the 8th IOC/WESTPAC Session held in May 2010 in Bali, Indonesia with strong support of member states, aiming to improve the awareness of local community on the natural biotoxins in marine organisms and their risks to human health within the Western Pacific region through the identification of toxic marine organisms and their toxins and dissemination of relevant scientific information to public.
During 2010-2012, this project carried out mainly through two workshops, and other associated activities. The 1st workshop on “Enhance the awareness on toxic marine organisms” as the starting-up of this project was aimed to prepare some appropriate outreach materials on the toxic marine organisms and discuss the future activities in the year 2011-2012. Following, the 2nd workshop on “Toxic marine organisms and their toxins” as an important activity of the IOC/WESTPAC-TMO project, in which public awareness materials (a poster and a flyer on common toxic marine puffers) were finalized, also, the activity plan of the 2nd phase has been detailed out for the next two years (2012-2013). In addition, following the Term of Reference on “Organizing capacity building activities to lessen poisoning incident”, two IOC/WESTPAC-TMO and HAB joint training workshops were carried such as (1) “Taxonomy and ecology of the diatom Pseudo-nitzchia” was held 20-24 March, 2011 at the University Sarawak, Malaysia; (2) “Immunological method for detection of domoic acid in plankton and shellfish” was held 19-22 March, 2012 at Institute of Oceanography, Vietnam.
By these activities, TMO project could disseminating information of seafood poisonings for public awareness and organizing capacity building activities to lessen poisoning incident within WESTPAC region. In next phase (2012-2013), the project is going to continue with the aim of improving the awareness of local community on the natural biotoxins focusing on Ciguatera problem and its risks to human health in the Western Pacific Region.
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