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Sport-Harvested Mussel Quarantine Lifted along Most of the California Coast

Date: October 30, 2020
Number: SN20-005

Health Advisory Continues for Sonoma County

SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today the statewide annual quarantine on mussels gathered by sport harvesters along the California coast, except for Sonoma County, ends at midnight on Saturday, October 31, 2020.

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. Concentrated levels of domoic acid and paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins can develop in mussels and other bivalve shellfish when they feed on certain naturally occurring marine plankton. There have been no reports of shellfish-related poisonings in California during this quarantine period.

CDPH is advising consumers not to eat sports-harvested mussels, clams, or whole scallops from Sonoma County. Dangerous levels of PSP toxins have been detected in mussels making them unsafe to consume. The naturally occurring PSP toxins can cause illness or death in humans. Cooking does not destroy the toxin. 

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 or viewing the recreational bivalve shellfish advisory interactive map. More information can be found on the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Web page or the CDPH Annual 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 there. More information about the razor clam fishery closure can be found on the CDFW Ocean Health Advisories Web page.

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