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Health Advisories for California Finfish, Shellfish and Crustaceans

potentially toxic species

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.

Dungeness and Rock Crab Fisheries: Open and Closed Ocean Waters

Recreational Fisheries for Dungeness Crab and Rock Crab

  • As of July 6, 2016 the recreational rock crab fishery for all rock crab species is open south of 37° 11' N latitude (Pigeon Point, San Mateo Couny) and in state waters around the Channel Islands. The recreational rock crab fishery for all rock crab species remains closed between 37° 11' N latitude and the California-Oregon border in ocean, bay, and estuarine waters due to unhealthy levels of domoic acid in the crab. Also note that CDPH warned consumers on Aug. 19, 2016 not to eat rock crabs caught in Half Moon Bay and bivalve shellfish and rock crabs caught in Monterey Bay, due to the detection of dangerous levels of domoic acid. This warning is in effect until lifted by CDPH.
  • The recreational Dungeness crab fishery is currently closed statewide (usual season closure, per California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 29.85(a)(2)(B)).
  • 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

  • As of July 6, 2016 the commercial rock crab fishery is open south of 37° 11' N latitude (Pigeon Point, San Mateo County) and in state waters around the Channel Islands. The commercial rock crab fishery remains closed north of 37° 11' N latitude to the California-Oregon border for all rock crab species in ocean, bay, and estuarine waters due to unhealthy levels of domoic acid in the crab. Also note that CDPH warned consumers on Aug. 19, 2016 not to eat commercially caught rock crabs from Half Moon Bay or Monterey Bay, due to the detection of dangerous levels of domoic acid. This warning is in effect until lifted by CDPH.
  • The commercial Dungeness crab fishery is closed statewide (usual season closure, per Fish and Game Code Section 8276.)
  • 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

  • As of April 27, 2016 the recreational take and possession of razor clam is prohibited from Humboldt and Del Norte county beaches.
  • 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.

Additional Information


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Marine Region (Region 7)
Regional Manager: Dr. Craig Shuman
Main Office: 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey, CA  93940
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