A local Oyster farm in California has been given 90 day notice by the US Federal Government to vacate or risk losing their Oysters, their tools and access to the land. Local’s have been going to the Drakes Bay Oyster Company for years and possibly decades to eat locally grown Oysters cultivated in some of the California’s most pristine Marine areas. According to their website “Drakes Estero has been in commercial oyster production for nearly 100 years. For most of its commercial history the estero was farmed by Johnsons’ Oyster Company. The Johnsons, over the past 60 years, developed much of the oyster growing techniques still used today. The Lunny family now owns and operates Drake’s Bay Oyster Company in the pristine waters of Drake’s Estero. The Lunnys have been farming and ranching adjacent to Drakes Estero for three generations. Drake’s Bay Oyster Company is the site of the last operating oyster cannery in the state of California.”
Everyone knows what an Oyster is right? If you don’t know simply Google the term. Oysters have been cultivated and eaten ever since the Roman Times, and are good sources of zinc, iron, calcium, selenium and Vitamins A and B12. They have even been considered an aphrodisiac.
California happens to be home to many locally grown and cultivated Oyster suppliers, including one named the
Drakes Bay Oyster Company(DBOC) in the Point Reyes National Seashore area. The Point Reyes National Seashore is home to many dairy farms/ranches that have existed in that area since the 1800’s. And most use Federal pastoral lands, but the DBOC uses Federal land to place the Oysters and uses Federal land to cultivate, pack and sell their products. As of December 14 2012 the Drakes Bay Oyster Company has filed a restraining order against the US Federal Government to stop the take-over or loss of their business. A petition can be found here, https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/petition/save-drakes-bay-oyster-co-reversing-decision-interior-department/GXsMsG3p
They have also solicited help from the “Cause of Action” Organization http://causeofaction.org/tag/drakes-bay-oyster-company/
But recently Ken Salazar from the Secretary of the Interior said “he has directed the National Park Service to allow the Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s current permit to expire on their lease at the end of its term which is the end of 2012.” His decision is based on the 1976 Congress’s designation of the Drakes Estero as a Marine wilderness. They were given a 90 day noticed at the end of November 2012.
In other words the Drakes Bay Oyster Company will lose all their property and access to the land if they don’t pack up and leave by the end of 2012.
My pictures will show that site during a peaking King Tide.
Shutting down that company means at least 30 people will lose their jobs, and will have to rely on government assistance to get work, or assistance with everyday survival. It means 30 peoples’ families will lose their income. It means local businesses will lose the support they get from the local workers and farmers, and it means people pursuing the American dream will once again be taken away by the U.S Federal government. It will also mean that over 30 people will become disenchanted and disenfranchised by the United States Government.
I heard about this story months ago, and have been to the business on numerous occasions. I once again visited the Drakes Bay Oyster Company on December 13th 2012, day two of the King high tide cycle. I often visit the Point Reyes national Seashore and hike the trails, the seashores and the photograph the wildlife. It is one of the best parks or wilderness areas I have ever visited, but nearly everyplace you go is considered remote. There is spotty cell phone coverage and at many of the trailheads are pay phones in case of emergency. There are many miles of coast that are unguarded and unprotected by law enforcement. In other words I have hiked into areas where no other human was, for up to 3 miles. In the park are many species of wildlife including harbor and elephant seals. It is the equivalent to the African Safari Ranges. I am all about protecting wildlife, and the natural areas, but am also all about people keeping their jobs.
Many kayakers and canoe’ers have complained about the power boats, the music they play while working, and their presence in a secluded and beautiful area.
But the California unemployment rate is still close to 10% and people need jobs, or they will not survive and will end up depending on the United States Government for financial or food assistance. Jobs in California are a commodity and the more time passes the more it seems the job scene gets more difficult.