The ongoing battle over the fate of Drakes Bay Oyster Company hits the courts today as the company's owner Kevin Lunny defends his right to continue to operate his commercial oyster farm, which supplies forty percent of California's oysters. Fighting him is Interior Secretary Ken Salazar, who ordered the closure of the farm after not renewing its permit, claiming that it is in the public interest to return the seashore to "full wilderness status."
Drakes Bay's case has been aided by legal group Cause of Action, who is arguing on Lunny's behalf in the belief that the government acted on "bad science." The government defends Salazar's decision and says that Cause of Action's allegations are baseless. Lunny has been given until March 15 to shut down his operation.
Meanwhile, demand for oysters remains high, and as the closing of the state's largest oyster supplier looms, the restaurant industry is preparing for the worst. With significantly fewer local oysters available, chefs and restaurateurs will have to look to other states and the East Coast to feed their customers, which will inevitably lead to higher prices.
The court hearing begins today at the Oakland Courthouse (1301 Clay Street, Oakland) at 2 p.m. and will determine whether or not the oyster farm can remain operational as the lawsuit is decided. The hearing is open to the public and Drakes Bay is encouraging supporters to attend.
[ISSF, Press Democrat]
· Drakes Bay Oyster Co. goes to court to fight closure [ISSF]
· Farm sold 40 percent of state's oysters [ISSF]
· Drakes Bay Oyster Co. goes to court to fight closure [Press Democrat]
· All Drakes Bay Oyster Co coverage [~ ESF ~]