The California Department of Public Health announced that the annual quarantine on mussels gathered by sport harvesters from the state’s coastal waters ends at midnight Thursday, except for an area around Humboldt Bay in Northern California.
The annual quarantine is intended to protect the public from two types of shellfish poisoning. Typically, the quarantine is issued for the entire California coastline from May 1 through Oct. 31, the department said in a news release. No shellfish-related poisoning was reported during the latest quarantine period.
The quarantine only applies to sport-harvested mussels; other steps are taken to ensure commercially harvested shellfish are free of toxins when sold, the release said.
The quarantine remains in effect from the north jetty of the Humboldt Bay entrance to the Humboldt-Del Norte County line. Samples of mussels have confirmed that toxins remain at dangerous levels there.
The types of toxins of concern in the quarantine are paralytic shellfish poisoning, and amnesic shellfish poisoning (also known as domoic acid poisoning). Both can develop in mussels and other bivalve shellfish that feed on certain marine planktons.
For updated information about shellfish poisoning, call the Shellfish information Line at (800) 553-4133. Information about the quarantine and shellfish toxins, see the California Department of Public Health’s FAQ web page