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Natural Toxin Prompts Ban On Commercial Spiny Lobster Fishing In Parts Of Channel Islands

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An area in the Channel Islands has been closed to commercial lobster fishing because of unhealthy levels of a naturally occurring toxin.

State Department of Fish and Wildlife officials say unsafe levels of domoic acid have been found in spiny lobsters near Anacapa Island, off the Ventura County coastline.

The closure includes state waters around Anacapa, and Santa Cruz Islands. Domoic acid is a neurotoxin produced by marine algae.

Under certain ocean conditions, the levels can naturally increase to dangerous levels. The commercial lobster fishing closure went into effect Tuesday, and there’s no word on how long it may be in place.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.