Health Advisories Continue for Del Norte, Humboldt, Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Barbara Counties
California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith announced the annual quarantine on mussels gathered by sport harvesters will be lifted at midnight Saturday, October 31, 2015, along the California coast except along Del Norte, Humboldt, Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Barbara counties.
Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins have not been detected in recent mussel samples along the coast; however, domoic acid has persisted in a variety of seafood samples from the counties included in the health advisories.
The quarantine and previously announced health advisories remain in effect for mussels and other seafood species from Del Norte, Humboldt, Santa Cruz, Monterey and Santa Barbara counties. The August 26 health advisory for Humboldt and Del Norte counties remains in effect and warns consumers not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve shellfish, such as mussels, clams or whole scallops. The July 3 health advisory for Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Santa Barbara counties remains in effect and warns consumers not to eat recreationally harvested mussels, clams and whole scallops, commercially or recreationally caught anchovy and sardines, or commercially or recreationally caught crabs taken from these counties. CDPH is continuing its efforts to collect a variety of samples from these areas to monitor the level of domoic acid.
The annual quarantine on sport-harvested mussels, which typically runs May 1 through October 31, is intended to protect the public from PSP and amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP). There have been no reports of shellfish-related poisoning in California during this quarantine period.
PSP is a form of nervous system poisoning. Concentrated levels of the toxins can develop in mussels and other bivalve shellfish when they feed on certain naturally occurring marine plankton. ASP, also known as domoic acid poisoning (DAP), has been linked to another type of marine plankton consumed by filter-feeding animals, like bivalve shellfish. Domoic acid has been linked to numerous poisonings of marine mammals along the Pacific Coast.
Updated information about current conditions is available by calling the Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133. More information can be found on the Mussel Quarantine Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Web page.
CDPH’s shellfish sampling and testing programs issue warnings or quarantines when needed. Local health departments, various state, federal and tribal agencies, community groups and others participate in the monitoring program. Residents and community groups interested in volunteering to assist with the testing program should email RedTide@cdph.ca.gov or call (800) 553-4133.