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 closed. The fishery is open every year from 6:00 a.m. on the Saturday preceding the first Wednesday in October through the first Wednesday after the 15th of March per California Code of Regulations Title 14, Section 29.90(a).
- The commercial spiny lobster fishery is closed. The fishery is open every year from the first Wednesday in October to the first Wednesday after the 15th of March 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. NOTE: As of May 23, 2019, CDPH has issued a consumption warning for rock crab caught in two northern California areas: 1) From the
Mendocino/Humboldt county line to Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County, and
2) from the Humboldt Bay entrance, north jetty, to the
CDPH recommends that consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as "butter" or "guts") of crabs caught in these two areas. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat.
- The recreational fishery for Dungeness crab is open in Mendocino, Humboldt and Del Norte counties until July 30, 2019. In all other counties, the recreational Dungeness crab fishery is closed.
- 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 the Humboldt Bay entrance at the north jetty (40°46.15’ N. latitude), including all ocean waters of Humboldt Bay, to near Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County (40°30.00’ N. lat.) as of May 23, 2019. The commercial fishery continues to be open south of the Humboldt-Mendocino county line to the U.S.-Mexico border. The fishery closure will remain in effect in two areas: 1) from the Humboldt Bay north jetty (40°46.15’ N. lat.) to the California-Oregon border (42°00.00’ N. lat.), and 2) from the Mendocino/Humboldt county line (40°00.00’ N. lat.) to 40°30.00’ N. lat. (near Cape Mendocino, Humboldt County), until state health agencies determine that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health in those areas and recommend the fisheries be opened, and the CDFW director provides notification of fishery reopening to commercial fishermen.
- The commercial fishery for Dungeness crab is closed statewide.
- 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