Drakes Bay Oyster Co.’s legal battle with the federal government is scheduled to begin round two Tuesday in the same Oakland courtroom where it began nearly two years ago.
Oysterman Kevin Lunny’s bid to continue harvesting bivalves from federally protected waters in the Point Reyes National Seashore came to an end June 30, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to consider his case, which had been rejected three times by federal judges in California.
Lunny closed up his retail oyster sales shack and canning operation at the edge of Drakes Estero a month later, and his lawyers are negotiating a timetable with Department of Interior attorneys for ending harvest operations and clearing millions of mollusks from the cold, clear waters of the 2,500-acre Pacific Ocean estuary.
But Lunny’s challenge to the legality of former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar’s decision in November 2012 not to renew a 40-year-old oyster harvest permit was picked up on July 17 by a coalition of local farmers, foodmakers and restaurant owners, including a competitor, Tomales Bay Oyster Co. They assert the loss of Lunny’s enterprise would deal west Marin County an economic blow.
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