Following a two-month long health warning, Dungeness and rock crab are once again safe to eat, according to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH).
From the Santa Barbara/Ventura County line to San Luis Obispo County, unhealthy domoic acid levels in the crustaceans have returned to their normal low levels, meaning the creatures’ body meat and viscera (crab butter) are no longer likely to cause illness.
The advisory, however, remains effective for crabs caught off Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, and San Miguel Islands, as well as for waters north of San Luis Obispo County, as stated in the CDPH press release. Eating Dungeness and rock crabs from these regions may still cause mild to severe domoic acid poisoning — whose symptoms include vomiting, diarrhea, cramps, headaches, and dizziness.
As The Santa Barbara Independent previously reported, the public health department attributed the higher domoic acid levels to a long-lasting algal bloom made possible by El Niño’s uncharacteristically warm water temperatures.