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Domoic acid found in lobster prompts health warning, fishery clo - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Domoic acid found in lobster prompts health warning, fishery closure

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Spiny lobster (California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife photo by Derek Stein) Spiny lobster (California Dept. of Fish and Wildlife photo by Derek Stein)

State health officials are warning consumers not to eat the viscera, or internal organs, of lobsters caught near Santa Cruz Island in Santa Barbara County and Anacapa Island in Ventura County.

Dangerous levels of domoic acid have reportedly been detected in lobsters caught in those areas.

As a result, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife has closed the commercial spiny lobster fishery in state waters around Santa Cruz and Anacapa islands. The recreational fishery for spiny lobster remains open statewide.

Domoic acid is a neurotoxin produced by naturally-occurring marine algae. Symptoms of domoic acid poisoning may include vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal cramps, headache, and dizziness which disappear within a few days. Severe cases may include trouble breathing, confusion, cardiovascular problems, seizures, short-term memory loss, coma, or death.

Health officials recommend discarding water or broth used to cook whole lobsters because domoic acid can leach from the viscera into the cooking liquid.

For more information on shellfish poisoning and quarantines, call the California Department of Public Health's "Shellfish Information Line" at (800) 553-4133 or visit the Domoic Acid webpage.

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