Susan Buckley, RN, Director, Public Health
Ira Singh, MPH, Deputy Director
Donald I. Baird, MD, Health Officer

Division of Environmental Health


Date Released: 4/28/2004
Subject: Annual Mussel Quarantine
Contact: Brian Cox
Phone: (707)445-6215


The Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services reminds the public that the annual mussel quarantine order has been issued by the State of California Department of Health Services. The quarantine is established for all species of mussels found along the California shoreline including all bays, inlets, and harbors.

This quarantine prohibits the taking, sale, or offering for sale (except by State certified commercial shellfish harvesters or dealers) of mussels in or from these designated areas, except for use as fish bait during the period of April 23 through October 31, 2003. This statewide quarantine is usually scheduled to begin May 1st.. This year it was instituted one week earlier due to elevated levels of paralytic shellfish poison (PSP) found in Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, and San Luis Obispo Counties. During the period of this quarantine, mussels may concentrate a naturally occurring substance that is highly toxic. Mussels for use as bait shall be broken open at the time of taking or prior to sale and be placed and sold in containers adequately labeled in bold-face type letters at least one-half inch in height as follows:


A warning has been issued in addition to the mussel quarantine. The warning advises the public that the dark part of all clams and scallops must be discarded and not eaten because any paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin present during April 23 through October 31 would be concentrated in the dark parts. Only the white meats of clams and scallops should be prepared for human consumption.

As with all shellfish, clams and scallops should be taken only from areas free of sewage contamination and should also be thoroughly cleaned before cooking.

Further details regarding paralytic shellfish poisoning may be obtained from the Environmental Health Division by calling 445-6215 or 1-800-963-9241.


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