|Marin Readers’ Forum for Aug. 17
From Marin Independent Journal readers
Posted: 08/16/2013 06:12:00 PM PDT
State holds lease, too
Let me try to clarify the confusion and frustration which some readers suffer when noting the contentious articles and letters regarding the National Park Service lease with the Point Reyes oyster farm.
In fact, there are two leases and a seeming conflict between them. There is the now cancelled but litigated federal dry land lease used for processing and, separately, the existing and possibly controlling state Fish and Game Commission oyster lease authorizing the actual planting and harvesting of this seafood in the waters of Drakes Estero.
In 1965, I authored Assembly Bill 1024 to transfer the state-owned Point Reyes tidelands to the Park Service but, pursuant to state constitutional authority, we “reserved to the state the right to fish.”
By statute, oysters are fish.
Since 1965 the Park Service recognized that right as it was continuously exercised by the Fish and Game Commission for these almost 50 years. After appearing at a commission meeting, this authoritative letter was written, dated July 11, 2012, to then-Interior Secretary Kenneth Salazar.
Letter states: “Let it be known that: The Commission, in the proper exercise of its jurisdiction, supports and continues to support the agricultural business of aquaculture, and to that end, has clearly authorized the shellfish cultivation in Drakes Estero through at least 2029 through the lease granted Drakes Bay Oyster Company.”
The state continues to receive its set fee from the Lunny family for this authorized and state-controlled oyster propagation.
There are five lawyers from separate law firms now providing various pro bono legal services to obtain court clarification and thus to help this small local oyster company continue to produce a pure, natural and sustainable food product for all to enjoy.
About that, there is no confusion.
William T. Bagley, San Rafael