State Issues Spiny Lobster Warning
Bad news, tomalley lovers. Less than a month after the opening of the spiny lobster season, the California Department of Fish and Game issued a warning to eat only the tails of local spiny lobsters and rock crabs. A form of algae bloom causes a toxin called domoic acid in small fish, mussels and clams that the lobsters feed on, and those toxins can build up in the viscera of the lobsters. The tails of the lobsters are not affected.
According to Department of Fish and Game site:
Elevated levels of domoic acid toxin have been found in the viscera (internal organs) of lobster sampled from waters adjacent to the northern Channel Islands. Elevated levels of the toxin have also been detected in recent samples of rock crab, and so this warning also extends to this species. The meat of the lobster and crab is not affected by the toxin, but all internal organs, including the roe, should be discarded.
Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning can occur within 30 minutes to 24 hours after eating toxic seafood. In mild cases, symptoms may include nausea or diarrhea, cramps, headache and dizziness. These symptoms typically disappear within several days, but in severe cases, the victim may experience life-threatening symptoms, or even death.
Spiny lobster fans can learn when this warning is lifted at this site. There's also information at this site for how human consumption of mussels are affected by this warning.
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