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

Division of Environmental Health


Date Released: 11/3/2005
Contact: Brian Cox, Director, Environmental Health Division
Phone: (707) 445-6215

The annual mussel quarantine for paralytic shellfish poisoning (PSP) ended at midnight on Monday, October 31, 2005. Extensive sampling of mussels confirmed that shellfish-borne toxins are at safe or undetectable levels along the California coast.

Every year the California Department of Health Services (CDHS) declares an annual quarantine that extends from May 1st through October 31st for sport-harvested mussels. The quarantine is declared to protect the public from PSP.

The quarantine applies only to sport-harvested mussels. Commercial shellfish harvesters in California must be certified by CDHS and are subjected to stringent sample testing for toxins. Commercial harvesting is stopped immediately if a potentially dangerous level of toxin is found.

Questions regarding the mussel quarantine can be directed to the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services, Division of Environmental Health at 445-6215 or 1-800-963-9241.

In addition, consumers can receive updated information about PSP and domoic acid by calling CDHS’ “Shellfish Information Line” at 1-800-553-4133.


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