Oyster farming has been conducted in the Drakes Estero (namedfor Sir Francis Drake who landed there in 1579) for thousands ofyears since the times of the first nations. In the early 1800’s,Mexican land grantees established rancheros and since then waves ofAmerican agricultural operations have continued to operate in thearea. In 1962 the Drakes Estero became part of a national seashorepursuant to an act of Congress. The over 8,000 acres surroundingthe Drakes Estero and the Pacific Ocean shoreline were purchased bythe federal government in 1972. The existing oyster operation atthat time was granted a permit to operate from the federalgovernment and did so for the next 40 years. In 2004, DBOCpurchased the previous oyster operation and began to sustainablyfarm and harvest oysters at the site, taking over the lease and thepermit.
DBOC represents the continuation of a California tradition.Since the 1930’s thousands of Californians have made the trek toDrakes Bay to purchase oysters. The company’s oysters have longbeen featured in restaurants throughout the San Francisco BayArea.
The Drakes Bay case is more than just being about preserving aCalifornia tradition, it’s a statewide food security issue as well.For each of the past three years, DBOC has been responsible foranywhere from thirty to forty percent of the state’s oysterproduction; forcing the company out of business would mean that thestate could only make up the lost production by importing fromoverseas.
DBOC and FTCLDF have entered into an agreement whereby thecompany will solicit support from its customers, supporters,restaurants and others from the Bay area and the surroundingcounties of Marin, Sonoma and Napa; and FTCLDF will administer thefund. Monies in that fund will be used to finance the company’spublic interest litigation against the National Park Service.Contributions to the DBOC fund are not tax deductible as charitablecontributions.