Our mission is to protect the habitat of Puget Sound tidelands from the underregulated expansion of new and intensive shellfish aquaculture methods. These methods were never anticipated when the Shoreline Management Act was passed. They are transforming the natural tideland ecosystems in Puget Sound and are resulting in a fractured shoreline habitat. In South Puget Sound much of this has been done with few if any meaningful shoreline permits and with limited public input. It is exactly what the Shoreline Management Act was intended to prevent.

Get involved and contact your elected officials to let them you do not support aquaculture's industrial transformation of Puget Sound's tidelands.

Governor Inslee:

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Drakes Bay Oyster Company: Amicus Brief by West Marin Environmental Action Committee Filed

[Update 8/27: The Department of the Interior has filed their response to Tomales Bay Oyster Company et al. Maybe it's time for TBOC to begin working on straightening out their permit ammendments to their current use permit with Marin County.]

West Marin EAC Files Amicus Brief in
Tomales Bay Oyster Company v. Dept. of Interior
Abandoned plastic tubes in Drakes Estero
from Drakes Bay Oyster Company

Suddenly a desire to sue - "How were we to know?"
Tomales Bay Oyster Company and various restaurants have had a lesson in business and will soon receive a lesson in law: you cannot wait for the last minute to sue and expect any judge to give the case any credence. Claiming to now have suddenly become aware that the closing of Drakes Bay Oyster Company may have a temporary impact on supply, the parties to the suit are claiming they will be harmed economically. Welcome to business and planning. Poor planning is not something the courts support.

Tod Friend, owner of
Tomales Bay Oyster clearing pipes
from unused acreage.
(picture from The Coastodian.org)
"we could grow all the oysters we need"
Now's your chance.

"What are we to do? Where will the oysters come from now?" 
Waving arms in a panic over a disruption in supply will not make poor business planning look any better to the court. Especially when claimed economic disruption is not supported by any facts. Implying that restaurants will now have to close because the only reason people eat there is because of DBOC oysters is baseless. Tomales Bay Oyster Company claiming a supply of 6,000 oysters per week is no longer available is countered by Puget Sound's Taylor Shellfish exporting 10,000 pounds of oysters per month  (Olympian, December 17, 2031).  At ~30 shucked oysters/pound this is equivalent to 300,000 oysters, or 90,000 per week. Taylor is only one grower exporting to Asia, Minterbrook being another. More importantly, Tod Friend, the current owner of Tomales Bay Oyster has himself acknowledged that he has acreage to grow all the oysters he wants. With seed previously purchased by DBOC now freed up he is free to do so. From the Point Reyes Light last month, Mr. Friend stated:
"Theoretically, we could grow all the oysters we need to supply our customers, but it’s a seed problem." (7/24/14, Point Reyes Light)

Do pan fried oysters taste different
if grown in Tomales Bay or Puget Sound?
Are the capers in the tartar sauce local?

Do Drakes Bay Oysters really matter to restaraunts? Do menus and reviews reveal anything?
Following is the list of restaurants noted in the law suit who claim they will be harmed if Drakes Bay Oyster Company closes. (Information below is as of 8/26.)
Saltwater Oyster Depot has no Drakes Bay Oysters listed on their menu.
Hayes Street Grill notes their raw oysters on the dinner menu as being "Cliffside" oysters which come from Discovery Bay, Washington. While the pan fried oysters with tartar sauce are noted as being Drakes Bay's, does pan fried anything with tartar sauce really have a distinctive taste?
Café reyes serves great pizza. But in reviewing TripAvisor's reviews of the restaurant over the past year, of the 20 reviews, 3 mentioned oysters, one being that they had eaten at Hog Island. Maybe oysters aren't such an important part of their business, whether local or otherwise.
Osteria Stellina does call out Drakes Bay Oysters on their menu, including on a pizza. But of the first 30 reviews on TripAdvisor, one mentions Hog Island oysters, another says the oyster they had are "not like the quality oyster you expect", and a third liked them.
Sir and Star does call out Drakes Bay oysters on their menu. However, partner Margaret Grade only complains in the suit that her "menu will have to change forever." 
 "The dirty secret of the food movement
 is that the much-celebrated small-scale farmer 
isn’t making a living." NY Times, 8/9/2014

Don't start a restaurant and don't let your children grow up to be farmers.
Running a company is hard, some more so than others. Restaurants are considered by some to be the worst business to start. Farming isn't any better, especially in the small farm to table business described in the NY Times article.

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