Federal Officials Shut Down Point Reyes Oyster Farm
(Photo: KQED QUEST)
Federal officials are closing a controversial oyster farm in Point Reyes National Seashore. After years of debate over its future, Drakes Bay Oyster Company now has 90 days to cease operations.
Oyster farming has been going on in the bay known as Drake’s Estero for decades under a special permit from federal government. When Kevin Lunny bought the oyster farm in 2004, he hoped the permit would be renewed, and that the farm wouldn't be forced to shut down.
“We’re devastated,” says Lunny. “We knew that it was possible, but we really didn’t think it could actually happen.”
Interior Secretary Ken Salazar says the bay will now become a fully-protected wilderness area. Environmental groups led the charge against the farm, saying it damaged the bay’s habitat and harmed local marine mammals.
“This creates the West Coast’s first and only marine wilderness area and it is an awesome day for all Americans,” says Amy Trainer of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin.
The bay was classified as potential wilderness in 1976. Senator Dianne Feinstein, who lobbied for the oyster farm, says she's disappointed in the decision.