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Ifremer Presenting at International Harmful Algae Conference

04 November 2014

GLOBAL - A group of over 20 French scientists (among them one Ifremer scientist) are participating in the International Conference on Harmful Algae (ICHA) which gathers around 500 world-leading scientists all week long, ending on Friday 31 October in Wellington, New Zealand.

Dr Philipp Hess, a scientist at Ifremer (Phycotoxin laboratory of the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea) participates as a member of the conference International Advisory Committee: "The interests of French researchers to participate in this conference are multiple and reflect the research priorities developed as part of the research networks on toxic and harmful marine algae ( and cyanobacteria. The most important stakes are for public health (seafood consumers and bathing water quality) as well as economic impacts on the fish and shellfish aquaculture and fisheries."

The 16th edition of the conference is currently being held in Wellington from October 27 to 31, 2014.

The theme is “Advancement Through Shared Science” in recognition of the multidisciplinary nature of the field and the important role that international collaboration has played in the understanding of Harmful Algal Bloom phenomena and the mitigation of their effects.

During his time in Wellington, Dr Hess will present recent scientific progress made by the French institute Ifremer’s Phycotoxin laboratory. He will also give an introduction of regional project COSELMAR which aims at deepening our understanding of coastal and marine ecosystems and the associated resources. Furthermore, he will also attend the board meeting of the ISSHA council (International Society for the Study of Harmful Algae) and will represent France at the IOC/ UNESCO Intergovernmental panel on Harmful Algal Blooms.

The recently created research network GdR PHYCOTOX regroups about 25 French research teams thus increasing the international visibility of French research around this theme. Thanks to increased cooperation through this network, the French delegation will also present their project to host the very same conference in Nantes, France, in 2018.

A great platform for scientific discussion between researchers from different countries, this conference will adopt a global approach including economic, industrial and legal aspects.

France and New Zealand are particularly attentive to the issues of biodiversity preservation, sustainable development and green growth. As France is laying the groundwork for its own ecological and energy transition, the country will be hosting next year the 21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change.

Raynald Belay, French cultural and scientific counsellor welcomes the international collaboration on the matter: “At a time when France is at the forefront of the environmental debate in preparation of the 2015 international Paris conference on climate change, we encourage the international exchange around issues affecting our ecosystems. The coordination of our efforts in the fields of research can only prove beneficial for all involved parties.”

With the objective of facilitating the exchange between French researchers and their New Zealand counterparts, the Embassy of France in New Zealand (based in Wellington) have welcomed over 60 experts for an evening of scientific discussion on Wednesday 29 October. The Embassy works closely with New Zealand research institutes on the environmental issues.

TheFishSite News Desk

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