Welcome Message from the ICHA 2023 Organizing Committee

Ichiro Imai
Chair of Local Organizing Committee of ICHA20 Hiroshima
Professor emeritus, Hokkaido University

It is our great pleasure to welcome you to Hiroshima, Japan for the 20th International Conference on Harmful Algae (ICHA) in November 2023. We also would like to cordially welcome all scientists working on harmful algal blooms (HABs) to this important meeting and to beautiful and delicious Japan by hosting this ICHA.

The sophisticated cuisine culture of Japan has long been supported by fishery products which are provided in bulk by aquaculture, hence, the history of aquaculture is significantly linked to the many struggles of HABs, to say the least. The aquaculture industries have long been suffering extensively from the threats of HABs resulting in both mass fish mortality and shellfish poisonings that include paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and diarrhetic shellfish poisoning (DSP), etc.
Turning our eyes to the global population and food problems of the world, it should be noted that the rapidly growing global population will soon exceed 10 billion in the near future. Thus, it is crucial to utilize marine resources as food more effectively and widely than ever. Nonetheless, HABs present major challenges in the coastal regions of the world due to forces such as global climatic change, eutrophication, and the spread of invasive algal species, etc. In order to continue enjoying the bountiful gifts of the sea, the hope to discover coping strategies to these challenges will be of immense global importance in the near future. Therefore, we believe that Japan would be one of the best places for a productive discussion on these important marine issues.

The people of Japan have a long history of intimate ties with the coastal environment which is defined by the concept of “Sato-Umi” whereby biological productivity and biodiversity have been nourished through the intimate interactions of humans with their coastal ecosystems. Japanese coastal landscapes have been formed and maintained through various human activities such as fisheries including aquaculture. Fortunately, the Japanese people have managed to develop unique solutions for coastal problems such as HABs. The concept of “Sato-Umi” represents a human-in-nature approach. A healthy coastal ecosystem supports sound fisheries including aquaculture, and harmonious human activities of “Sato-Umi” maintain sustainable ecosystems. For example, the cultivation of seaweeds and bivalves can be recognized as a kind of purification for coastal environments, and the bottom sediment tillage enhances primary productivity by diatoms through the germination of resting stage cells leading to the control of HABs occurrences in coastal environments.

The 20th ICHA in Hiroshima, Japan, in November 2023, would provide an excellent opportunity to make contributions to the HAB knowledge from all over the world. The theme of the conference will be “HAB Science and Human Well-being”. The goal is to exchange relevant scientific information towards a greater understanding of HAB mechanisms, better and timely predictions of HAB occurrences and mitigating their negative impacts. The 20th ICHA 2023 Hiroshima will provide an opportunity to communicate, compare and exchange research findings, contribute cutting-edge knowledge, make and renew friendships, and contribute effectively towards greater international efforts for understanding and protecting global marine and freshwater ecosystems.

We fervently look forward to welcoming you and the ISSHA community members in November 2023, in Hiroshima, Japan.