Highly Controversial Decision Against Point Reyes Oyster Farm- Marin Independent Journal

We here on the Olympic Peninsula and Salish Sea, aren’t the only ones dealing with the controversy over aquaculture farming. The shellfish industry is up in arms, even up here, over the ruling by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, to end the lease with Drake Bay Oyster Co. on Point Reyes. This action, if left to stand, will end with the removal of the farm, the loss of 30 jobs, and the closing of one of the last oyster farms left in California.

The controversy exists over the reading of the lease, which apparently offered the shellfish farm with the ability to renew the lease, but the Parks department is saying that is not the case.

With powerful political allies like Senator Diane Feinstein siding with the oyster company, and the shellfish industry that is planning to sue to overturn the decision, I don’t think we have heard the end of this issue.

The bizarre part of this, is that the decision allows continued ranching and farming within the park, which one could argue would be vastly more destructive to the land than a small oyster farm operation. Also, given that the decision came just after the election, that this was in the works for months, with the election holding back the decision.

It is hard to understand the science behind this decision. These decisions often are not based in sound science, as witnessed by the NOAA decision last year to push whale watch boats even farther away from the Orcas in the San Juans. Having read the science behind the decision, I have to feel that there was more politics at play than reasonable science based decision making.

In the notion of “following the money”, it would be interesting to know who owns the ranches that were granted the free ride, and whether those people donated to any major political campaigns or not.