SACRAMENTO –The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) lifted health advisories today related to certain sport-harvested bivalve shellfish in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties. For these counties, the advisories are being lifted for whole scallops and all clams. The advisories were issued due to dangerous levels of domoic acid, a naturally occurring toxin that can cause illness or death. Recent testing shows concentrations of domoic acid have declined to safe or undetectable levels. There have been no reported illnesses associated with this event.
The CDPH warnings against eating sport-harvested razor clams from Del Norte and Humboldt counties and clams and whole scallops from Los Angeles County due to dangerous levels of domoic acid, remain in effect, as well as the statewide annual quarantine on sport-harvested mussels. The annual quarantine applies to all species of mussels harvested along the California coast, as well as all bays and estuaries, and will continue through at least October 31.
Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms disappear within several days. In severe cases, the victim may experience trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short term memory, coma or death. No cases of human poisoning from domoic acid are known to have occurred in California.
You can get the most current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines by calling CDPH's toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133. For additional information, please visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Web page or the CDPH Annual Mussel Quarantine - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Web page.
CDPH Senior Environmental Scientist Vanessa Zubkousky-White talks about the lifting of these warnings.