Commercial Shellfish Regulation
Preharvest Shellfish Program (Program) regulates the commercial shellfish
industry in conformance with the National Shellfish Sanitation Program (NSSP).
The NSSP is the federal/state cooperative program recognized by the U. S. Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Interstate Shellfish Sanitation Conference
(ISSC) for the sanitary control of shellfish produced and sold for human
consumption. The purpose of the NSSP is to promote and improve the sanitation of
shellfish (oysters, clams, mussels and scallops) moving in interstate commerce
through federal/state cooperation and uniformity of State shellfish programs.
Participants in the NSSP include agencies from shellfish producing and
non-producing States, FDA, EPA, NOAA, and the shellfish industry. The
NSSP Guide for the Control of Molluscan Shellfish consists of a Model Ordinance,
supporting guidance documents, recommended forms, and other related materials
associated with the Program. The Model Ordinance includes guidelines to ensure
that the shellfish produced in States in compliance with the guidelines are safe
Program conducts sanitary surveys to identify actual and potential pollution
sources, classifies commercial growing areas, manages the ongoing monitoring of
water quality in all areas, responds to emergencies such as sewage spills or
illness outbreaks, and implements harvest closures whenever a threat to water
quality exists. The Program
also works in collaboration with various law enforcement agencies to ensure the
proper patrol of closed areas to prevent illegal harvesting.
shellfish aquaculture is conducted in five major areas throughout the state:
Humboldt Bay, Tomales Bay, Morro Bay, Santa Barbara Channel, and Agua Hedionda
Lagoon. There are 15 companies operating mostly on state leases administered by
the California Department of Fish and Game. Additional leases are held
privately or within city tidelands grants.