The California Department of Public Health(opens in new tab) (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(opens in new tab) 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(opens in new tab) 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(opens in new tab) (OEHHA) also issues consumption advisories(opens in new tab) based on the amount of mercury or other chemical toxins found in finfish, shellfish and crustaceans. Safe eating guidelines(opens in new tab) 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.
CDFW has closed the razor clam fishery in Del Norte County as of November 3, 2022, and in Humboldt County as of April 21, 2023. Read the press release for the Del Norte County closure and the Humboldt County closure.
Spiny Lobster Fisheries: Open and Closed Ocean Waters
Dungeness and Rock Crab Fisheries: Open and Closed Ocean Waters
Recreational Fisheries for Dungeness Crab and Rock Crab
- For recreational rock crab fishing regulation information please see the ocean sport fishing regulations. NOTE: As of May 23, 2019, CDPH has issued a consumption warning for rock crab caught in two northern California areas: 1)
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(opens in new tab) than crab body meat.
- For recreational Dungeness crab fishing season dates please see the ocean sport fishing regulations.
- For the latest information on season delays, closures, or trap use restrictions due to marine mammal or sea turtle entanglement risks, please visit the CDFW Whale Safe Fisheries web page.
- 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 season 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.
- For commercial Dungeness crab season dates, please see the commercial fishing regulations. For the latest information on season delays or closures caused by entanglement risks, please visit the CDFW Whale Safe Fisheries web page.
- 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.