After the U.S. Supreme Court recently declined to consider reinstating a lease to farm and pack shellfish in Point Reyes National Seashore, Drakes Bay Oyster Co. this week decided to plan to shut down at the end of this month but continue the legal fight to get back in business.
[caption id="attachment_94621" align="alignright" width="240"] Thirty workers at Drakes Bay Oyster Co. will be out of work July 31, as the company is "out of legal options to keep the farm open while (it continues) litigation." (credit: Drakes Bay Oyster)[/caption]
"It is with heavy hearts that we report that the oyster farm shack and cannery must close on July 31," owners Kevin and Nancy Lunny wrote in an message to its email list Friday morning. "The injunction that had allowed us to keep them open while we petitioned the Supreme Court went away when the Supreme Court decided not to take our case."
There was a federal court injunction on a National Park Service decision not to renew a lease to operate in Drakes Estero until the Supreme Court decided whether it would hear the company's case to overturn that action. The top court on June 30 declined to take up the matter, without comment.
The injunction was to last until 30 days after the U.S. Supreme Court decision. The legal teams of the 30-employee company and park service met Monday to discuss next moves, and that's when the farm decided it would close, according to a spokeswoman for the family. The Lunnys plan to take the next two weeks to decide next steps.
The Lunnys, fourth-generation Point Reyes ranchers, purchased the oyster farm in 2004. In a letter to the community published in the Point Reyes Light on Thursday, they said they borrowed about $1 million to upgrade and clean up the operations after taking over operations in January 2005.
"We truly believed the park would be relieved," the Lunnys wrote. "Instead, things went downhill. ... We quickly became the target of an ugly attempt by the park to paint our family as 'environmental felons.'"
Drakes Bay Oyster (drakesbayoyster.com) produces about one-third of California-grown oysters and is the last such cannery in the state.