The Drakes Bay Oyster Co. has long been a thorn in the side of California’s Point Reyes National Seashore. Its lease was grandfathered into the preserve’s designation in 1962, but was supposed to expire in 2012 so that an ecologically rich estuary called Drakes Estero could gain full wilderness protection. Then, co-owner Kevin Lunny sued the Interior Department to keep his oyster farm in business, prompting a drawn-out legal battle that pitted sustainable seafood advocates against wilderness purists (“What we got here is a failure to collaborate,” HCN, 7/29/09).
Under an Oct. 6 settlement, Drakes Bay Oyster Co. has agreed to shut down, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review the case in June. Shortly after, the farm closed its retail operation and oyster shack, although it will harvest oysters until the end of the year; the National Park Service will then remove the farm’s infrastructure. Lunny says he plans to open an oyster restaurant and distribution business nearby.