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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.

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, and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has link opens in new windowlifted its Dungeness crab consumption advisory statewide. However, CDPH still recommends not eating the viscera (internal organs, also know as "butter" or guts) of Dungeness crab as a precaution. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of link opens in new windowdomoic 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.

  • On December 24 at 12:01 a.m. the commercial Dungeness crab season opened from near Salt Point, Sonoma County (38° 34.5’ N. lat.) to the Sonoma/Mendocino County line (38° 46.1’ N. lat.). The opener in this area was preceded by an 18 hour pre-soak period commencing at 8 a.m. on Dec. 23.
    Read the press release announcing hte opening of the crabbing grounds in these areas.

  • On Dec. 26 at 12:01 a.m., the commercial Dungeness crab season opened from the Sonoma/Mendocino County line (38° 46.1’ N. Lat.) to 38° 57.5' N lat. (near Point Arena) and from 40° 01' N. lat. (near Shelter Cove) to the north jetty of the Humboldt Bay entrance. The opener in this area was preceded by a 64 hour pre-soak period commencing at 8 a.m. on December 23.
    Read the press release announcing the opening of the crabbing grounds in these areas.

  • On Dec. 29 at 12:01 a.m., the commercial Dungeness crab season opened from 38° 57.5' N lat. (near Point Arena) to 39° 33.3' N. lat. (near Ten Mile River). The opener in this area was preceded by a 64 hour pre-soak period commencing at 8 a.m. on December 26.
    Read the press release announcing the opening of the crabbing grounds in this area.

  • On Jan. 16 at 12:01 a.m., the commercial Dungeness crab season will open from 39° 33.3' N. lat. (near Ten Mile River) to 40° 01' N. lat. (near Shelter Cove). The opener in this area will be preceded by a 64 hour pre-soak period commencing at 8 a.m. on January 13.
    Read the press release announcing the opening of the crabbing grounds in this area.

  • 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.
  • 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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