Drakes Bay Oyster Co. will be able to keep harvesting oysters for at least another 30 days after the National Park Service agreed to give the Tomales Bay plaintiffs a month-long headsup of a permanent shutdown.
Department of Justice spokesman Wyn Hornbuckle emailed NBC Bay Area on Monday saying that the park service has not given "permission" to Drakes Bay to harvest oysters for another 30 days. "Rather," he wrote, "the United States has agreed to give the court, DBOC and the Tomales Bay plaintiffs 30 days advance notice of a shut-down of (the oyster company's) operations in Drakes Estero, removal of offshore property, and the removal of the onshore property that DBOC uses to remove oysters."
The West Marin businesses that say they depend on the continued operation of the oyster company filed a lawsuit that essentially contends that the U.S. Department of the Interior didn't follow the law when it made its decision to close down the oyster farm, according to the group's attorney, Stuart Gross.
The oyster company still plans to suspend its retail operations Thursday, Gross told the Marin Independent Journal, but the harvesting operations can go on for 30 days after the court rules on the injunction, scheduled for Sept. 9.
The Department of the Interior has said it will not renew the oyster company's lease because it wants to include the 1,100-acre property in a marine wilderness area. Environmentalists, property rights advocates and fans of the business have come to its defense. Oyster-harvesting operations have gone on in the area for at least a century.
NBC Bay Area's Shawn Murphy contributed to this report.