The owners of an oyster farm fighting for their business at Point Reyes National Seashore have been issued a cease-and-desist order from the California Coastal Commission pertaining to unpermitted operations.
The order is just the latest setback for the Drakes Bay Oyster Co., which back in November was told by Interior Secretary Ken Salazar that he would not extend the company's lease to farm oysters in the waters of Drakes Estero in the national seashore.
On February 4, a U.S. District Court judge declined to issue a temporary restraining order that would block the eviction notice while DBOC's owner, Kevin Lunny, pursued a lawsuit to reverse it. Three days later the coastal commission approved the cease-and-desist order.
The order specifically directs DBOC to "(1) cease and desist from conducting or maintaining unpermitted development; (2) remove onshore unpermitted development; (3) remove and/or cease unpermitted development, including discharge of invasive Didemnum sp., Manila clams, and marine debris from Drakes Estero and beyond; and (4) follow requirements to seek Coastal Act authorization for specified unpermitted development, and (5) limit any interim operations and conduct them pursuant to a set of guidelines designed to protect the environment, including by controlling the invasive Didemnum sp.
In supporting the order, the commission's staff pointed to unpermitted operations in the seashore's waters by the oyster company, land alterations, debris from the farming operations, violations of previous cease-and-desist orders, and company boats operating in waters that were supposed to be closed to traffic due to harbor seal pupping.
"Additionally, the Secretary of the Interior has declined to issue a new lease to DBOC, and as the state water bottom leases were made expressly contingent upon continued federal authorization to occupy the Property, the facility now exists without any governing resource protection operational controls, which will be the case during the pendency of current litigation filed over the lease renewal issues,' the staff noted in its recommendations to the commission.
"Commission staff has worked sedulously with DBOC over the past months in an effort to resolve these issues in the context of a consent settlement, but was ultimately unable to obtain agreement regarding the various resourceprotection measures to be implemented in the context of both interim operations and potential retirement of the facility."