The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) coordinates a routine monitoring program along the California coast to sample mussels and other shellfish like clams and scallops for the presence of Paralytic Shellfish Poisoning (PSP) and domoic acid toxins. Commercial shellfish harvesters are also required to provide weekly shellfish samples to CDPH for PSP toxin assay and domoic acid analysis. If toxin levels are high enough, warnings and quarantines are issued to protect the recreational fishing public and shellfish consumers.
CDPH also has a coastwide, monthly seawater monitoring program which detects the naturally occurring, microscopic algae that produce PSP and domoic acid toxins. When toxin levels begin increasing, CDPH may expand its mussel sampling effort to include other seafood species. If toxin levels increase quickly beyond the federal alert level for either toxin, then CDPH may immediately issue a health advisory for all potentially impacted seafood species in the affected region.
This web page was established as a source of information for fishermen and the fishing industry. When circumstances arise, CDPH warnings, quarantine information, and health advisories about consuming California's ocean finfish, shellfish and crustaceans will be posted here.
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) also issues consumption advisories based on the amount of mercury or other chemical toxins found in finfish, shellfish and crustaceans. Safe eating guidelines to help you to reduce your exposure to chemicals in sport fish — fish that you and your family or friends catch — are also available from OEHHA.
Spiny Lobster Fisheries: Open and Closed Ocean Waters
- The recreational spiny lobster fishery is open statewide. The recreational fishery for spiny lobster remains open statewide with a warning from the California Department of Public Health to recreational hoop netters and divers to avoid consuming the viscera (tomalley) of spiny lobster from the commercial closure area (see below).
- The commercial spiny lobster fishery is now open at Anacapa Island, as of November 3, 2017. Except for state waters east of 119°30.000’ W. longitude and north of
34°00.000’ N. latitude,
the commercial closure remains in effect in all
state waters around Santa Cruz and Anacapa islands east of 119°40.000’
W. longitude, and west of 119°20.000’ W. longitude
see map). State waters extend three nautical miles beyond outermost islands, reefs, and rocks. This closure will remain in effect until state health agencies determine that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommend the fishery be opened, and the director of CDFW provides notification to commercial fishermen.
Read the CDFW Declaration of Fisheries Closure for the commercial spiny lobster fishery (includes map of closure area)
Dungeness and Rock Crab Fisheries: Open and Closed Ocean Waters
Recreational Fisheries for Dungeness Crab and Rock Crab
- The recreational fishery for all rock crab species is open statewide. North of Bodega Bay, Sonoma County, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) advises that consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as "butter" or "guts") of crabs. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat. Review recent changes to recreational crab fishing regulations.
- The recreational fishery for Dungeness crab is open statewide. From Laguna Point, Mendocino County northward to Humboldt Bay North Jetty, Humboldt County, and from the Klamath River mouth, Humboldt County northward to the Oregon border, the California Department of Public Health advises that consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as "butter" or "guts") of crabs. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat. Review the recreational crab fishing regulations for the 2017-18 season.
- Please check this web page frequently, or call the Domoic Acid Fishery Closure Information Line at (831) 649-2883, for the most up-to-date information.
Commercial Fisheries for Dungeness Crab and Rock Crab
- The commercial rock crab fishery is open south of Bodega Bay, Sonoma County (38°18’ N. lat.), as of February 10, 2017. The fishery closure north of Bodega Bay will remain in effect until state health agencies determine that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommends the fisheries be open, and the director of CDFW provides notification to commercial fishermen.
- The commercial Dungeness crab season opens at
12:01 a.m. on November 15, 2017 south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line. Prior to the season opener, an 18-hour trap pre-soak period is set to begin at 6:01 a.m on November 14, 2017. The
season north of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line is currently closed (usual
- Check this web page frequently, or call the Domoic Acid Fishery Closure Information Line at (831) 649-2883 for the most up-to-date information.
Razor Clam Fishery Closure