At least 30 percent of all the oysters harvested in California come from Drake’s Bay Oyster Company, an environmentally sustainable oyster farm on the shores of Drakes Estero, which is within the confines of the Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco, California. It’s run by the Lunny family, who have been farming and ranching in the area for over three generations. And on November 29th, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told them that they have 90 days to shut down the operation and abandon the bay.
In 1962, Drakes Estero became part of a national seashore, and ten years later the federal government purchased the land, which has been a prime oyster breeding ground for thousands of years. The oyster operation that existed there at the time was granted a 40-year lease by the government, and in 2004 Drake’s Bay Oyster Company took it over, employing 31 people and harvesting millions of dollars’ worth of oysters annually. Now, for reasons unclear, the government has refused to renew that lease.
Many of the restaurants in the San Francisco area rely on Drake’s Bay for their oysters, and if the company is forced to shut down not only will the suppliers have to look elsewhere for their oysters, those 31 employees will be out of work and the government will lose out on additional tax revenue.
Thankfully, they’re not going down without a fight. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) has taken the reins of their litigation fund, which will be used to help finance the oyster company’s lawsuit against the U.S. National Park Service. They need your help, however. You can contribute to the fund here, and you can also keep up with the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.
Save Drake's Bay!
Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers.