Decision on Oyster Farm’s Permit Expected by Friday

Do you think the Point Reyes-based Drake's Bay Oyster Company should be allowed to continue operating? Tell us in the comments.


U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to decide by Friday the fate of the Drake's Bay Oyster Co. at Drakes Estero.

The company, run by rancher Kevin Lunny, is seeking a 10-year extension of its current 40-year special use permit to harvest oysters. The permit expires Nov. 30, and Salazar toured the oyster farm last Wednesday.

Salazar also met with National Park Service officials and some environmentalists who oppose extending the permit in order to protect the wilderness in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

A 500-page final environmental impact report was released earlier this month that listed four options -- ceasing the oyster company's authorization to operate and three alternatives that extend the permit, each with various conditions and exceptions.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein favors extending the permit, and legislation she authored in 2009 gave Salazar the option to do so.

The Inverness-based company issued a voluntary recall in August after it was linked to an outbreak of bacterial illness that affected three people. 

- Bay City News Service

T McDermott November 29, 2012 at 02:04 AM
Sustainable farming on land is aplauded, in the ocean? I think they should stay. There is no difference between a leaking septic in Petaluma, Napa or on a houseboat in Richardsons Bay (Sausalito). Things happen get old and fail but they get fixed and are better for it. The Oyster company is a business that has a great following with a consistant product. They should stay, there are miles and miles and miles of coastline, unspoiled and wild. Hey does Sea Ranch have septic or their own treatment plant? Or just enough money?
Victoria Hanson November 29, 2012 at 02:49 AM
No doubt about the 'great following' T, but funny you should mention 'consistent product'. I spoke with the Petaluma seafood manager for WholeFoods, he said they've discontinued carrying DBOC for more than a year now, due to 'inconsistency'. That was even before the vibrio attack that sickened several customers. Guess it all depends on what your standards are. Toxic schmoxic, right? Biotoxin accumulators are not my cup of tea, but for friends I value, I direct them to Hog Island, where conscientious marine biologists minimize risks with depuration tanks. Enjoy your fantasies with my blessing. Not sure what your distant septic references mean, but while you're up to SeaRanch, why not check out the gazillion acres of prime oyster tidelands in Humboldt Bay. That water's so clean it's certified for seed export. There even the largest corporate grower, Coast Oyster (70% of CA's product) recognizes the benefits of responsible practices. Instead of wasting 7years and millions on a futile fight, they bit the bullet (after some kicking and screaming) and retooled completely. That's what it means to 'fix old failed stuff for the better'. If you're satisfied with empty slogans, then 'sustainable stewardship' is just terrific for feel-good PR-BS.
Doug Shader November 30, 2012 at 02:47 AM
Once again the Fed's have lost their minds. 99% of the people support letting Drake's oyster co. stay and it defies logic that they are being shut down. Doug Shader
Pamela Herzog November 30, 2012 at 03:13 AM
I am furious at what happened here today ...... My husband worked on a documentary about the family, their business and its history ...... after watching it I feel a great loss and sadness for the family and the displaced employees many who lived in homes on the property. Thank you Obama and our goverment for closing down a local, organic, small family owned business with now 30 employees displaced and out of work! What a way to help our economy. It is a sign of the times now that we have Obama for another 4 years. Happy Holidays and have a Merry Christmas.
Tina McMillan November 30, 2012 at 04:31 AM
So little about this decision makes any sense at all. Soon we will only be able to look at open space from a computer.


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