Drakes Bay Oyster Farm Closing

Supreme Court declines to hear challenge

Oct 7, 2014
Outside Magazine

Drakes Bay Oyster Company has farmed oysters in Drakes Estero since the 1930s.    Wikimedia Commons

Following a U.S. Supreme Court decision on Monday not to hear a challenge from Drakes Bay Oyster Company that would allow it to continue oyster-farming operations within Point Reyes National Seashore, the company has reached a settlement with the park to close its facilities at the end of 2014.

The agreement ends two years of litigation between Drakes Bay and the National Park Service, which manages Drakes Estero, where the company has farmed oysters since the 1930s. The Lunny family purchased the farm in 2004.

The NPS will take responsibility for removing infrastructure from the commercial shellfish operation, returning the land to wilderness use as part of Point Reyes National Seashore. “More than two and a half million visitors enjoy this extraordinary place every year, and we will continue to take our stewardship responsibilities seriously on behalf of the American people,” the NPS said in a statement.

Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s 40-year lease ran out at the end of 2012. The Lunnys have since fought to keep their business open, arguing that the NPS falsely charged the company with environmental harm and falsely claimed that its policies required the removal of their farming operations. 

“We fought long and hard all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court,” the Lunny family said in the press release. “Along the way we stood up for family farms, for sustainable food, and for scientific integrity in the government.”

Joe, Kevin, and Bob Lunny, co-owners of Drakes Bay, said in a press release that they now plan to open a restaurant called Drakes Oyster House at the Tomales Bay Resort in Inverness. They hope to provide jobs to many of their workers and support other small farms and fishermen. They will also continue to distribute oysters to restaurants and markets in the San Francisco Bay Area.

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