Marin County oyster farm wins temporary reprieve

  • Francisco Manzo, left, and Francisco Lopez process oysters at the Drakes Bay Oyster Farm facility near Inverness, on Thursday, November 29, 2012. U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he will shut down the oyster farm at Point Reyes National Seashore, designating the site as a wilderness area. (Christopher Chung/ The Press Democrat)

Drakes Bay Oyster Co. won a temporary reprieve Monday, when a federal appeals court ruled it could stay in business while it challenges a government shutdown order.

The terse, two-page decision effectively rescinds Thursday's deadline for the company to quit harvesting and selling oysters from Drakes Estero in the Point Reyes National Seashore.

It also prolongs a contentious issue that has pitted the National Park Service and wilderness advocates against oyster farm owner Kevin Lunny and his supporters, with the future of one of California's leading oyster producers at stake.

"This is a great day," said Lunny, whose family has operated the business on the estero shoreline since 2004 and sought a renewal of their federal permit last year.

"It doesn't mean we won the war," Lunny added. "There's still a long journey ahead."

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