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Modelling tools to assess microbiological risks in bathing waters and shellfish harvesting areas

20.03.2019

Newton Fund Researcher Links Workshop, Florianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil, February 2019

Coordinated by Dr Paulette Posen, Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas), UK, and Dr Luis Garbossa, Empresa de Pesquisa Agropecuária e Extensão Rural de Santa Catarina (Epagri), Brazil, Early Career Researchers from both countries engaged in four days of keynote talks, practical sessions, networking and discussion around the topic of Modelling tools to assess microbiological risks in bathing waters and shellfish harvesting areas.  Supported by the Newton Fund Researcher Links programme, the workshop was held in Florianópolis, in Brazil’s south-eastern state of Santa Catarina.  Coastal areas of this state are important for shellfish farming, and the extensive sandy beaches are popular with holidaymakers.  However, close coexistence of coastal development, tourism and aquaculture can give rise to water quality issues, posing potential health risks both to sea bathers and to consumers of shellfish.  The event builds on ongoing collaboration between Cefas and Epagri to promote good practice in aquaculture production, by advancing the development of robust surveillance techniques to meet international standards for shellfish safety, bathing water quality and human health.

The workshop brought together participants from diverse scientific, management and policy backgrounds: to share knowledge and experience across their varied disciplines; to discuss international differences in defining microbiological standards; to assess implementation of environmental and human health protection measures; and, to learn how modelling tools can aid cost-effective monitoring strategies and support decision-making for public health initiatives.  There were practical exercises in (i) modelling terrestrial inputs to river systems; (ii) predicting contaminant transport in coastal areas; (iii) exploring model outputs in relation to microbiological standards.

Other activities included: a ‘speed-networking’ social event where pairs of participants considered a series of questions relevant to the workshop topic, each from the perspective of their own discipline; an informative guided tour of a local wastewater treatment works; an introduction to career development opportunities in the UK and Brazil; plus a good mix of group sessions to identify areas for future collaboration.

This workshop was supported by a Researcher Links grant, ID RLWK8-10615, under the Newton Fund partnership. The grant is funded by the UK Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and the Conselho Nacional das Fundações Estaduais de Amparo à Pesquisa (CONFAP) and delivered by the British Council. For further information, please visit www.newtonfund.ac.uk.

Cefas (https://www.cefas.co.uk/) is a world leader in marine science and technology, providing innovative solutions for the aquatic environment, biodiversity and food security. The mission of Epagri‑Ciram (http://ciram.epagri.sc.gov.br/) is to “generate, provide and disseminate information and environmental technologies for sustainable development of agricultural, marine and aquatic environments …”

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