Oysters are one of the most sustainable types of seafood available. Not only are they widely considered delicious but, according to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, oysters also play a part in keeping bay waters clean as they filter pollutants from waters and pump nutrients back into the bay.
California’s Drakes Bay Oyster Company, located in Point Reyes just north of San Francisco, is a third-generation family-owned sustainable oyster farm that is under the threat of being shut down. Drakes Bay Oyster Company was given a 40-year lease to operate in the Point Reyes area, which is a national park. On November 29, 2012, Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Salazar decided not to renew the lease and ordered the oyster company off the land within 90 days. The removal of the Drakes Bay Oyster Company from the land would result in the loss of jobs and millions of dollars in income and revenue–and 30 to 40 percent of California’s oyster production.
In December of 2012, the Drakes Bay Oyster Company filed a lawsuit against the National Park Service (NPS) arguing that Secretary Salazar’s decision not to renew the lease was not in accordance with applicable law and asking that their removal from the area be held during ongoing litigation. The court granted the Drakes Bay Oyster Company the right to remain in business while it hears the matter and stated that there were “serious legal questions” with the Department of Interior’s decision to remove the oyster farm.