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Sport-Harvested Mussel Quarantine Lifted along the California Coast 

Date: 11/2/2016 
Number: 16-069 
Contact: Ali Bay, (916) 440-7259 

SACRAMENTO California Department of Public Health (CDPH) Director and State Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Smith has lifted the annual quarantine on mussels gathered by sport harvesters along the California coast. Paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins have not been detected in recent mussel samples along the coast. 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. 

The annual quarantine on sport-harvested mussels, which typically runs May 1 through October 31, is intended to protect the public from shellfish poisoning caused by marine biotoxins. There have been no reports of shellfish-related poisonings in California during this quarantine period. 

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 or call (800) 553-4133. 

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

Due to the persistent presence of domoic acid in razor clams from beaches in Humboldt and Del Norte counties, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s (CDFW) closure of the razor clam fishery remains in effect. More information about the razor clam fishery closure can be found on the CDFW Ocean Health Advisories Web page.
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