Al Lundeen (916) 440-7259
The extended annual quarantine on mussels taken by sport harvesters from the ocean waters of Del Norte, Humboldt, and San Luis Obispo counties has been lifted, Dr. Mark Horton, director of the California Department of Public Health, announced today. Extensive sampling of mussels confirmed that shellfish-borne toxins from those areas have returned to safe or undetectable levels. The annual mussel quarantine for the remainder of the California coastline was lifted October 31, 2009. The mussel quarantine for the entire California coastline is issued annually from May 1 though October 31 to protect consumers of sport-harvested shellfish from paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and amnesic shellfish poisoning (ASP).PSP is a form of nervous system poisoning. Concentrated levels of PSP and ASP toxins can develop in mussels and other bivalve shellfish when they feed on certain naturally occurring marine plankton. ASP has been linked previously to several poisonings of marine mammals along the Pacific Coast.CDPH’s shellfish sampling and testing programs for PSP and ASP issue warnings or quarantines when needed. Local health departments, various state and federal agencies, and others participate in the monitoring program.Consumers can receive updated information about shellfish poisoning by calling the CDPH Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4122.
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