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article imageSF Bay Area oyster farm wins another 30 days reprieve

By Nathan Salant     Jul 27, 2014 in Environment
Inverness - The San Francisco Bay Area's last oyster farm is not closed, not quite yet. While the Drakes Bay Oyster Co.'s retail store is scheduled to shut down Thursday, oyster farming in the historic estuary can continue for at least 30 days.
The temporary reprieve came Friday after local farmers, restaurants and bars that buy Drakes Bay oysters sought a court order blocking the shutdown, according to the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper.
In a pretrial agreement, the US Dept. of the Interior -- which manages the estuary in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area -- agreed to give the oyster farm 30 days notice of an impending shutdown, the newspaper said.
That notice might not even be issued until Sept. 9, when the companies and park service are scheduled to return to court.
"This is great news for Bay Area oyster lovers," attorney Stuart Gross of San Francisco, who represents the business owners, told the newspaper.
"It presents the possibility that Drakes Bay Oyster Co. can continue to be a source of wonderful, fresh oysters for some time to come," he said.
The Drakes Bay Oyster Co., which has been in operation for more than 100 years, provides a third of all fresh oysters in California, the newspaper said.
The future of the company and the oyster harvest has been in doubt since 2005, when the Interior Department decided not to renew the farm's lease and instead include the 1,000-acre property in a marine wilderness area.
But the announced closure became a major controversy involving the government, businesspeople, environmentalists, food lovers and property rights advocates that already has reached the US Supreme Court, the newspaper said.
Drakes Bay is believed to be where English explorer Sir Francis Drake landed during his around-the-world voyage in 1579.
More about Drakes Bay, Oyster, Farming, California, San Francisco
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