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Shellfish Safety Notification: Sport-Harvested Bivalve Shellfish from Santa Barbara County

Date: June 16, 2023
Number: SN23-003

Dangerous levels of domoic acid, also referred to as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning, have been detected in mussels and oysters from Santa Barbara County. The naturally occurring domoic acid toxin can cause illness or death in humans. Cooking does not destroy the toxin.


The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) is advising consumers not to eat sport-harvested mussels, clams, or scallops from Santa Barbara County. 


This shellfish safety notification is in addition to the annual m​ussel quarantine. The annual quarantine applies to all species of mussels harvested for human consumption along the California coast, as well as all bays and estuaries, and will continue through at least October 31.


Symptoms of amnesic shellfish 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.


This warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops, or oysters from approved sources. State law permits only state-certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers to sell these products. Shellfish sold by certified harvesters and dealers are subject to frequent mandatory testing to monitor for toxins.


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 or viewing the recreational bivalve shellfish advisory interactive map. For additional information, please visit the CDPH Marine Biotoxin Monitoring Web page. ​

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