ISSHA International Conferences on Harmful Algae

Provoked by the first massive PSP outbreak in 1972 in the western Gulf of Maine, the First International Conference on Toxic Dinoflagellate Blooms, hosted by the Massachusetts Science and Technology Foundation and the MIT Sea Grant Programme, was convened in Boston, Massachusetts, in November 1974. The “Boston Conference” was basically a US Conference, with the addition of a few foreign participants. But some previous outbreaks in Europe and Japan, and others which followed in the 1970’s showed that harmful algae events and their toxins were a global problem, with strong socio-economic impacts on public health, fisheries, aquaculture and tourism worldwide.

The success of the “Boston Conference” and its subsequent proceedings (LoCicero 1975) led to the convening of the 2nd International Conference on Toxic Dinoflagellate Blooms (Key Biscayne, Florida, October 1978). International interest in the problems associated with toxic dinoflagellate blooms had expanded considerably by then. Following the implication of other microalgal groups with harmful impacts—“red tides” (discolorations) of various microalgae groups in western Pacific aquaculture, “killer microalgae” events in Scandinavia, diatom-linked ASP events in Canada, “brown tides” in eastern and southern USA, human poisonings caused by cyanobacteria in Brazil—the name of the conference gradually changed to adapt itself to the times. The term Harmful Algae Blooms was coined by the IOC of UNESCO to designate any microalgae event perceived as harmful to human activities. Since 1997, Harmful Algae has been adopted as a catch-all phrase for freshwater and marine harmful algae events.

More than anything else, the International Conferences on Harmful Algae (ICHA) and their proceedings report on the new problems faced by the HAB community, and the advances in research and management needed to tackle them. This section provides available information on different harmful algae conferences (including the last 13th ICHA, Hong Kong 2008), and the subsequent ICHA proceedings and ICHA Conference Highlights that are published subsequently.


Upcoming Conferences

Hiroshima, Japan ICHA 2023 November 5-10

The 20th International Conference on Harmful Algae will be held in Hiroshima, Japan.

Punta Arenas, Chile ICHA 2025

The 21st International Conference on Harmful Algae will be held in Punta Arenas, Chile.

Bids for hosting ICHA

Bids for hosting ICHA21 in 2024 will be released soon. ISSHA members in good standing will be able to vote online for the venue before and during ICHA20. Click the above link to see the format for ICHA20 bids.


Conference Proceedings, Highlights and Abtracts of Past Conferences