Consumers told not to eat bivalve shellfish from Santa Barbara County

Warning applies to sport-harvested shellfish

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The California Department of Health released a statement Thursday warning consumers not to eat recreationally harvested bivalve fish, such as mussels, clams or whole scallops, from Santa Barbara County, including the northern Channel Islands.

Health officials say dangerous levels of domoic acid have been detected in mussels from this area and are unsafe to eat.

Domoic acid is a naturally occurring toxin and can cause illness or death in humans. It's also referred to as Amnesic Shellfish Poisoning or ASP.


Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. Symptoms may include:

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Trouble breathing
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Cardiovascular instability
  • Seizures
  • Excessive bronchial secretions
  • Permanent loss of short-term memory
  • Coma
  • Death


The California Health Department said this warning does not apply to commercially sold clams, mussels, scallops, or oysters from approved sources.

For current information on shellfish advisories and quarantines, visit

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