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
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. North of 40°00.00' N. lat., near the Mendocino/Humboldt county line, CDPH recommends that consumers not eat the viscera (internal organs, also known as "butter" or "guts") of crabs. The viscera usually contain much higher levels of domoic acid than crab body meat.
- The recreational fishery for Dungeness crab is open along most of the California coast, with the exception of an area that extends from
Patrick's Point in Humboldt County (41° 8.00’ N latitude) to the California-Oregon border. The season will remain closed in this area until state health agencies determine that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommend the area be opened. A warning has also been issued to not eat the viscera of Dungeness crab caught near Bodega Head and the Russian River in Sonoma County.
- 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 near the Mendocino/Humboldt county line (40°00.00' N. lat.) to the U.S./Mexico border as of April 20, 2018. The fishery closure north of the Mendocino/Humboldt county line will remain in effect until state health agencies determine that domoic acid levels no longer pose a significant risk to public health and recommend the fisheries be opened, and the CDFW director provides notification of fishery reopening to commercial fishermen.
commercial fishery for Dungeness crab is closed statewide.
Every year, the fishery is closed for a period of time through November 14 (south of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line) or December 1 (north of the Mendocino/Sonoma county line) per Fish and Game Code Section 8276. This year, the season will be closed from the southern boundary of Bodega Head State Marine Reserve, Sonoma County (38° 18’ N. latitude) north to the Sonoma/Mendocino county line (38° 46.125’ N. latitude) due to elevated levels of domoic acid in the crab. Commercial take and/or possession of Dungeness crab is
prohibited in these waters. North of the Sonoma/Mendocino county line, the
Dungeness crab commercial season is not scheduled to open until Dec. 1. That
opener is also subject to delay pending test results for domoic acid as
well as crab quality.
- 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