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The annual ban of sport harvested mussels begins this month

California Mussels
BJ Stacey / flickr.com
California Mussels

California has begun its annual ban on sport harvesting mussels. The order is issued to prevent people from sickness or death.

From May 1st to October 31st, there's a high chance that mussels are consuming plankton with naturally occurring toxins. When people consume the mussels, they’re likely to get sick. That’s according to SLO County Public Health.

Peter Haig is the Director of Environmental Health Services with SLO County.

“It's a pretty serious health risk for wild or sport-caught shellfish. It's not affecting commercially grown shellfish. They have a separate monitoring program,” Haig said.

Haig said the ban helps protect people who may have no idea what the risk is. But, when mussels make someone sick, it’s pretty obvious. Symptoms usually kick in about an hour after consumption, he said, and can even lead to paralysis.

Gabriela Fernandez came to KCBX in May of 2022 as a general assignment reporter, and became news director in December of 2023. She graduated from Sacramento State with a BA in Political Science. During her senior year, she interned at CapRadio in their podcast department, and later worked for them as an associate producer on the TahoeLand podcast. When she's not writing or editing news stories, she loves to travel, play tennis and take her 140-lbs dog, Atlas, on long walks by the coast.
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