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Health Advisories and Closures for California Finfish, Shellfish and Crustaceans

potentially toxic species

The link opens in new windowCalifornia 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 link opens in new windowmonitoring 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, link opens in new windowCDPH warnings, quarantine information, and health advisories about consuming California's ocean finfish, shellfish and crustaceans will be posted here.

The link opens in new windowOffice of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA) also issues link opens in new windowconsumption advisories based on the amount of mercury or other chemical toxins found in finfish, shellfish and crustaceans. link opens in new windowSafe 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 closed statewide. The fishery is closed every year from the first Wednesday after the 15th of March through 6:00 a.m. on the Saturday preceding the first Wednesday in October per California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 29.90(a). 
  • The commercial spiny lobster fishery is closed statewide. The fishery is closed every year between the first Wednesday after the 15th of March and the first Wednesday in October per California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 121(a).

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 40°00.00' N. lat., near the Mendocino/Humboldt county line, the California Department of Public Health recommends that consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as "butter" or "guts") of crabs. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of link opens in new windowdomoic acid than crab body meat.
  • The recreational fishery for Dungeness crab is open statewide. CDPH health advisories for the northern coast region of California have been rescinded as of December 29, 2017. link opens in new windowReview 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 from near the Mendocino/Humboldt county line (40°00.00' N. lat.) to the U.S./Mexico border as of April 20, 2018. The fishery closure north of the Mendocino/Humboldt county line 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 north of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line (Fishing Districts 6, 7, 8, and 9) opened at 12:01 a.m. on January 15, 2018. The season opened at 12:01 a.m. on November 15, 2017 south of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line. 
  • 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.

Razor Clam Fishery Closure

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Regional Manager: Dr. Craig Shuman
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