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SPORT-HARVESTED MUSSELS QUARANTINE LIFTED ALONG CALIFORNIA COASTLINE, EXCEPT CHANNEL ISLANDS REGION

Posted Oct 29 2010 4:30am

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced today that the statewide annual quarantine on mussels taken by sport harvesters from California’s ocean waters ends at midnight on Sunday, October 31.  

Sampling of mussels confirmed that shellfish-borne paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) toxins and domoic acid are at safe or undetectable levels with the exception of the northern Channel Islands region (Anacapa, Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa and San Miguel islands). 

The quarantine on sport-harvesting of mussels, other shellfish, fish and the viscera of crustaceans will remain in effect for the Channel Islands. 

The annual mussels quarantine is issued for the entire California coastline, usually from May 1 through October 31.The quarantine applies only to sport-harvested mussels. Commercially harvested shellfish are not included in the quarantine as other steps are taken to assure shellfish entering the marketplace are free of toxins. 

PSP is a form of nervous system poisoning. Concentrated levels of the PSP toxins can develop in mussels and other bivalve shellfish when they feed on certain naturally occurring marine plankton. 

Domoic Acid Poisoning (DAP) -- sometimes referred to as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning (ASP) -- has been linked to natural food sources for filter-feeding animals like bivalve shellfish. No known cases of human Domoic Acid Poisoning have occurred in California this season. Domoic acid has been linked to several poisonings of marine mammals along the Pacific Coast and may have caused several mild cases of human poisoning in the state of Washington. 

CDPH’s shellfish sampling and testing programs for PSP and DAP issue warnings or quarantines when needed. Local health departments, various state and federal agencies and others participate in the monitoring program. Consumers can receive updated information about shellfish poisoning by calling the "Shellfish Information Line" at (800) 553-4133.

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