Don’t Eat That Razor Clam!

razor clam
Razor clam
CDFW photo by J. Ray

The sport razor clam fishery closed more than two years ago in Humboldt and Del Norte counties due to harmful levels of a naturally occurring marine biotoxin, domoic acid. The state Department of Public Health (CDPH) has documented varying levels of toxin in the clams since the closure, but levels have not fallen low enough to reopen the sport season.

In fact, recently skyrocketing levels of domoic acid in northern California razor clams have renewed concerns among Continue reading

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Bodega Head State Marine Reserve and Bodega Head State Marine Conservation Area

 

Bodega Bay
Coastline overlooking Bodega Bay from the Bodega Head Trail, with Tomales Point in the distance
CDFW photo by A. Frimodig

The splendor and natural productivity of California’s coastal ocean waters is well known to locals and visitors alike. One of the more prominent features along the southern Sonoma County coastline is Bodega Head, a rugged headland located about 40 miles northwest of San Francisco. Continue reading

Domoic Acid and the Recreational Dungeness Crab Fishery: A brief history of monitoring and current recreational fishery information

Freshly cooked Dungeness Crab
photo by E.W. Roberts III

The California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH’s) biotoxin monitoring program began in 1927 in response to a massive poisoning event that occurred after people ate mussels containing high levels of paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin. Several deaths and over 100 illnesses were attributed to the event, according to CDPH.

Domoic acid, which causes amnesic shellfish poisoning, is another potentially deadly and naturally occurring toxin that may be produced after a “bloom” of a single-celled plant called Pseudo-nitzschia. Blooms of Pseudo-nitzschia do not always produce domoic acid, and there is currently no reliable way to predict where or when a bloom will produce the toxin. Continue reading

Exploring California’s Marine Protected Areas: Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area

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Pillar Point State Marine Conservation Area (SMCA) is located on the stunning coastline of San Mateo county just south of San Francisco. This marine protected area (MPA) lies on the northern edge of Half Moon Bay and is known for its abundant marine life, “fish in grey suits” (white sharks), surfers in rubber suits, and wild waves.  Continue reading