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Health Advisories and Closures 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

  • The recreational fishery for all rock crab species is open statewide. North of Pigeon Point, San Mateo 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 Dungeness crab fishery is currently open statewide. North of Point Reyes, Marin 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.
  • 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 Pigeon Point (37°11’ N. lat.) as of November 15, 2016. Read the press release announcing closure of the commercial fishery north of Pigeon Point. The fishery closure 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 fishery is open in two broad areas: 1) south of  38° 34.5’ N. lat. (near Salt Point), as of December 3, 2016; and 2) from the north jetty at the Humboldt Bay entrance (40° 46.15' N lat.), including all ocean waters of Humboldt Bay, north to the California/Oregon border, as of December 1, 2016. Waters between the Humboldt Bay north jetty and 38°34.5’ N. lat. (near Salt Point) will remain closed to commercial Dungeness crab fishing. Read the press release announcing the opening of the crabbing grounds between Point Reyes and Salt Point.

    The crabbing grounds between 38°34.5’ N. lat. (near Salt Point) and the north jetty at the Humboldt Bay entrance will remain closed until state health agencies determine that domoic acid levels in crab from this area no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommend the fisheries be open, and the director of CDFW provides notification to commercial fishermen. 

  • 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 until further notice.
  • 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.

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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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