The Lunny family, owners of Drake's Bay Oyster Company, have finally settled with the National Park Service on the terms of the oyster farm's closure. The settlement ends a seven-year legal battle to keep the farm in operation, after a decision by the U.S. Department of Interior to return the Drake's Estero to wilderness. Owners Bob, Joe, and Kevin Lunny, who leased Drake's Bay Oyster in 2004, exhausted every option available before closing retail operations at the nearly 100-year-old farm on July 31, after the Supreme Court refused to hear their case. Since then, the company and the National Parks Service have been working on today's exit agreement. KQED has the whole settlement online, for anyone who wants to parse the legalese.
The company will continue to harvest and sell oysters wholesale until the end of the year, a minor victory won after they argued that they would have to dump their existing inventory into the bay if forced to move immediately. The National Park Service also agreed to help relocate the Drake's Bay Oyster Company employees living and working on-site.
The Lunnys have already started work on a new restaurant and oyster operation in Tomales Bay, on the other side of Point Reyes. The restaurant, called Drake's Oyster House, will be at Tomales Bay Resort in Inverness. The new oyster operation would join Tomales Bay Oyster Company and Hog Island Oyster Company on Tomales Bay. "This new venture will allow us to continue to provide jobs for many of our oyster workers while supporting other small family farms and fishermen in west Marin County," said Kevin Lunny in a statement.