Mussel quarantine starts early

04/25/2013

The annual quarantine on sport-harvested, non-commercial mussels is now in effect all along the California coast, including all inlets, harbors and bays. The California Department of Public Health instituted the quarantine earlier than its typical May 1 start date due to high levels of biotoxins detected. “The quarantine is in place to protect the public against poisoning that can lead to severe illness, including coma and death,” Dr. Ron Chapman, department director and state health officer, said in a press release. Ingesting toxic mussels can result in paralytic shellfish poisoning, which affects the nervous system and can in severe cases cause muscular paralysis and death from asphyxiation. Eating these mussels can also cause domoic acid poisoning, which can cause both mild reactions like headaches and cramps as well as seizures, coma and death in severe cases. The quarantine typically ends Oct. 31.