Mussel Quarantine Status
The annual quarantine of sport-harvested mussels began May 1st.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the annual quarantine of sport-harvested mussels gathered along the California coast. The quarantine began May 1st and applies to all species of mussels that are recreationally harvested along the California coast, including all bays and estuaries. The quarantine is in place to protect the public against poisoning that can lead to serious illness, including coma and death.
The quarantine is designed to prevent paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) and domoic acid poisoning in people who might otherwise consume sport-harvested mussels. Both of these toxins are linked to plankton consumed by shellfish, including mussels and clams.
Early symptoms of PSP include tingling of the lips and tongue, which may begin within minutes after eating toxic shellfish. These symptoms are typically followed by loss of balance, lack of muscular coordination, slurred speech and difficulty swallowing. In severe poisonings, complete muscular paralysis and death from asphyxiation can occur.
The annual sport-harvested mussel quarantine is typically from May 1st through October 31st and is intended to protect the public from shellfish poisoning caused by marine biotoxins.
Additional information on shellfish advisories and quarantines is available from CDPH’s toll-free Shellfish Information Line at (800) 553-4133.