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Some Shellfish and Shoaling Fish Off-Limits


Toxic domoic acid has made an appearance again in nearby Pacific waters, and the state Department of Public Health is warning consumers to avoid eating the meat and viscera of several species. Recreational fishers are advised to avoid eating mussels and clams, as well as the guts of scallops. Recreationally and commercially caught anchovy, sardines, and crabs in Santa Barbara, Monterey, and Santa Cruz counties are also being added to the list of inedibles.

Domoic acid accumulates naturally in seafood from an unpredictible bloom of certain single-cell plants. Poisoning symptoms can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours of ingestion and include vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, headache, and dizziness, which can disappear with days. In severe poisonings, trouble breathing, confusion, disorientation, cardiovascular instability, seizures, excessive bronchial secretions, permanent loss of short-term memory, coma, or death can result. Updates are available at Public Health’s hotline: (800) 553-4133.

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