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Help Save Drake’s Bay Oyster Company!

Help Save Drake’s Bay Oyster Company!

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National Park Service is forcing family-run California company to close

Oysters from Drake's Bay Oyster Company, near San Francisco, Calif.

At least 30 percent of all the oysters harvested in California come from Drake’s Bay Oyster Company, an environmentally sustainable oyster farm on the shores of Drakes Estero, which is within the confines of the Point Reyes National Seashore near San Francisco, California. It’s run by the Lunny family, who have been farming and ranching in the area for over three generations. And on November 29th, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar told them that they have 90 days to shut down the operation and abandon the bay.

In 1962, Drakes Estero became part of a national seashore, and ten years later the federal government purchased the land, which has been a prime oyster breeding ground for thousands of years. The oyster operation that existed there at the time was granted a 40-year lease by the government, and in 2004 Drake’s Bay Oyster Company took it over, employing 31 people and harvesting millions of dollars’ worth of oysters annually. Now, for reasons unclear, the government has refused to renew that lease.

Many of the restaurants in the San Francisco area rely on Drake’s Bay for their oysters, and if the company is forced to shut down not only will the suppliers have to look elsewhere for their oysters, those 31 employees will be out of work and the government will lose out on additional tax revenue.

Thankfully, they’re not going down without a fight. The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) has taken the reins of their litigation fund, which will be used to help finance the oyster company’s lawsuit against the U.S. National Park Service. They need your help, however. You can contribute to the fund here, and you can also keep up with the latest news on Facebook and Twitter.

Save Drake's Bay!

Dan Myers is the Eat/Dine Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @sirmyers.

Oyster Reef Restoration Efforts Could Use Your Help&mdashAnd Your Oyster Shells

Organizations around the country are asking people do donate spent shells for recycling while their usual restaurant suppliers have shut down due to COVID-19.

A couple of centuries ago, oysters were ridiculously prevalent in the Chesapeake Bay, which stretches nearly 200 miles from Havre de Grace, Maryland to Virginia Beach, Virginia. At that time, more than 17 million bushels of everyone&aposs favorite bivalve were pulled from its waters every year, but that number has since dropped by 98 percent due to a depressing combination of overfishing, degradation of their habitats, and water pollution.

But part of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation&aposs mission to "Save the Bay" includes a number of oyster restoration programs, including small-scale oyster farming and "oyster gardening," which allows amateur aquaculturists to spend a year caring for baby oysters, which are then transplanted onto protected reefs when they&aposre a year old. These restored reefs not only help to increase the oyster population, but they also provide food and shelter for a variety of fish and other marine life.

In order for an oyster to live past the larval stage, it has to find a solid object to attach to. Once it&aposs safely anchored, it can put its energy into feeding itself and growing its own shell. It also happens that the best things that baby oysters𠅊lso called spat�n attach themselves to are the discarded shells of other oysters.

That&aposs why the Chesapeake Bay Foundation launched the Save Oyster Shells recycling program several years ago. It has partnered with more than 50 local restaurants to collect the "empties" leftover from their half-shell appetizers and oyster-based entrees, which are then passed on to oyster gardeners or used at other stages in the reef restoration process. But because many of those restaurants have temporarily closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the CBF isn&apost getting the shells that it needs.

"We’re clearly not going to meet [last year&aposs] 3,000 bushel mark this year. Through March of this year we collected 556 bushels of shells in Virginia. We’ve received very few shells since then," Jackie Shannon, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation&aposs Virginia Oyster Restoration Manager, told Food & Wine.

"Luckily we have excess shells in storage from previous years when we collected more than were used for oyster restoration work. While the current lack of new shells is not expected to threaten oyster restoration work this year, shell recycling can take years from restaurant to reef. We don’t yet know how long restaurants are going to be affected by this pandemic and the impact on our shell supply down the road."

The Foundation&aposs restaurant shell-recycling program has been temporarily put on hold, but it is encouraging anyone who&aposs grilling, steaming, or slurping oysters at home to save their shells and then take them to one of its no-contact drop-off sites for collection.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation isn&apost the only organization that runs an oyster shell recycling program, either by picking empty shells up from local restaurants, asking locals to save their shells, or both. There are similar programs in Alabama, Delaware, Florida, Louisiana, New York, and both Carolinas𠅊nd many of them are experiencing pandemic-related shell-shortages, or have had to temporarily halt their collection efforts.

The Coalition to Restore Coastal Louisiana—which launched one of the country&aposs first oyster shell recycling programs—is still determining how to move forward. "We have put all oyster shell recycling on hold at this stage in the pandemic. Very few of our restaurant partners continued operating," CRCL spokesperson James Karst said.

"New Orleans was a hot spot in the early stages of the crisis, and many of the restaurants here closed entirely or shifted to another model [. ] There were some other things at play as well, such as the fact that our tourism and convention business evaporated overnight. The oyster business was devastated, it’s safe to say. We have recycled nearly 10 million pounds of oyster shell, but we went to zero pounds in April and so far in May."

The CRCL had 19 restaurant partners before the pandemic, although it is unsure how many of them will reopen when it&aposs safe to do so. It is also trying to adjust its volunteer events to ensure that they adhere to social distancing guidelines. "The pandemic will affect the size and timing of future reef building projects, and it will delay volunteer shell bagging events since we have to let shell cure before it can be used to build reefs," Karst said.

Leslie Vargas, a Coastal Specialist with the North Carolina Coastal Federation said that her organization had suffered similar setbacks. One of the five restaurants that participated in the NCCF&aposs two-year-old Restaurant to Reef Program has closed permanently, while another hasn&apost yet reopened.

"We have just resumed volunteer pickups from the three remaining restaurants this week. The [shell recycling] program has been dormant since March 12th," she said. "Last year, at this time, we&aposd collected approximately 400 bushels of shells from restaurants through the Restaurant to Reef program with 15 volunteer participants. This year, we&aposre at about 150 bushels and we are down to seven volunteers due to the closures of the two restaurants."

The NCCF still has three public drop-off points and it is optimistic that it will be able to open two more𠅊nd pick up two more restaurant partners—this summer. "We&aposre also working on cohesive messaging and outreach for the area in an effort to make up some of our lost numbers," she added.

Although a temporary decrease in oyster shells doesn&apost sound that bad, it could significantly affect the oysters that these programs are desperately trying to save. A disheartening 15-year study of the effectiveness of oyster restoration activities in Rhode Island determined that the mortality rate on restored reefs was so high, that the populations started to decline almost immediately after local organizations stopped transplanting new oysters into them.

"A saved Bay won’t be possible without flourishing oyster reefs," Shannon said. "Oysters help clean and filter water, and their reefs provide habitat for a huge variety of underwater life. Healthy oyster reefs also support strong fisheries by offering a home to the shellfish, crabs, and fish that end up on our dinner tables."

So basically saving and donating your empty shells could help save the next generation of oysters. That sounds like a pretty good trade.

The beginning of Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm

Kevin Lunny, owner of Drakes Bay Oyster Company, listens to a phone call from U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to learn that the government will not renew his family’s lease. REUTERS/Noah Berger

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Let’s pick up the story when some local ranchers, the Lunny family, bought the oyster farm from their neighbors, the Johnsons. It was in poor shape there was sewage leaking into the estuary. The Johnsons had just eight years left on their lease with the National Park Service and had been unable or unwilling to fix things up. Then, Brennan writes:

In early 2005 the Lunnys, a cattle ranching family from a half mile down the road, took over. Since then it had been the Drakes Bay Oyster Company — the infamous Drakes Bay Oyster Company, if you will, whose plight has garnered national media attention. Its opposing sides had brought together strange bedfellows, from anti-government militia groups to locavore celebrity chefs, and its fate had been debated heavily and contentiously across the country. Was the company causing environmental harm? Or had it been framed, the victim of government fraud?

Was the oyster farm doing environmental harm? The public debate turned on this question. Pro-oyster-farm people said that the bivalves were filling in for missing native oysters, and that they were cleaning up the water. Pro-wilderness people said that oyster feces were fouling the water.

All of this was hyperbole. Yes, oysters filter water, but they filter out algae, and there wasn’t an excess of algae in the estuary. And yes, oysters poop, but the waste wasn’t causing major problems. What about the claim that oysters were needed to replace the long-lost natives? Well, Brennan’s research suggests that there were no native oysters — at least not in the last few hundred years. There was the Olympia oyster, which fed rich merchants and miners who had struck it rich during the Gold Rush, but those were not native. Businessmen had brought the Olympia oysters down from Washington state and farmed them in the San Francisco Bay from 1851 on. “The native California oyster, at least as it would have existed in the 19th century, is a myth,” Brennan writes.

There was also much debate over whether the oyster farm disturbed harbor seals, but the data was inconclusive. It was clear that plastic, timber, and other bits of material from the farm was ending up in the water. There were innumerable presentations, studies, and studies of the studies hashing all this out. In the end, Brennan writes, it all boiled down to this:

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“Was the oyster farm causing harm? Maybe. Was it very severe? Probably not but we didn’t know yet. Could it be mitigated through an adaptive management approach? Most likely.”

That doesn’t really provide a clarion mandate for either side. In the end we are left with a simple question: What do people want?

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SAN FRANCISCO BAY / SHELL GAME FOR OYSTERS / Scientists building reefs to allow the return of the natives


1 of 8 oyster106.jpg Biologist Robert Abbott retrieves some of the sacks of oyster shells from the muck of the bay to check for aquatic creatures. he finds some bay shrimp mixed with the shells. An effort to restore the native oyster habitat in San Francisco Bay is taking place off San Quentin Point in waters near the Marin Rod and Gun club. A group of hardy scientists and volunteers are placing used Pacific oyster shells into shallow reefs to attract the native Olympia oysters into setting up shop just north of the Richmond-San Rafael bridge. 8/13/06 Ran on: 08-14-2006 Biologist Robert &quoBud&quo Abbott retrieves a net full of oyster shells from the bay muck to check for aquatic creatures, and later finds some bay shrimp. Ran on: 08-14-2006 Biologist Robert &quoBud&quo Abbott retrieves a net full of oyster shells from the bay muck to check for aquatic creatures, and later finds some bay shrimp. Brant Ward Show More Show Less


2 of 8 oyster104.jpg Marine biologist Rena Obernolte, top, and scientist Larry Floyd stood in the shallow bay waters and deposited the oyster shells which will form a small reef to attract the native oysters. An effort to restore the native oyster habitat in San Francisco Bay is taking place off San Quentin Point in waters near the Marin Rod and Gun club. A group of hardy scientists and volunteers are placing used Pacific oyster shells into shallow reefs to attract the native Olympia oysters into setting up shop just north of the Richmond-San Rafael bridge. 8/13/06 Ran on: 08-14-2006 Biologist Robert &quoBud&quo Abbott retrieves a net full of oyster shells from the bay muck to check for aquatic creatures, and later finds some bay shrimp. Ran on: 08-14-2006 Biologist Robert &quoBud&quo Abbott retrieves a net full of oyster shells from the bay muck to check for aquatic creatures, and later finds some bay shrimp. Brant Ward Show More Show Less


4 of 8 oyster103.jpg Volunteers and scientists, with their boat loaded with oyster shells, made their way to a shallow reef where the shells would be left to attract oysters. An effort to restore the native oyster habitat in San Francisco Bay is taking place off San Quentin Point in waters near the Marin Rod and Gun club. A group of hardy scientists and volunteers are placing used Pacific oyster shells into shallow reefs to attract the native Olympia oysters into setting up shop just north of the Richmond-San Rafael bridge. 8/13/06 MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOGRAPHER AND SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE/ -MAGS OUT Brant Ward Show More Show Less


5 of 8 oyster105.jpg Some of the native Olympia oysters can be seen clinging to a rock near the Marin Rod and Gun club. these efforts will greatly increase the numbers of the small, native oysters. An effort to restore the native oyster habitat in San Francisco Bay is taking place off San Quentin Point in waters near the Marin Rod and Gun club. A group of hardy scientists and volunteers are placing used Pacific oyster shells into shallow reefs to attract the native Olympia oysters into setting up shop just north of the Richmond-San Rafael bridge. 8/13/06 MANDATORY CREDIT FOR PHOTOGRAPHER AND SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE/ -MAGS OUT Brant Ward Show More Show Less

7 of 8 Oyster Restoration Project Area. Chronicle Graphic Show More Show Less

Biologists dumped a dozen boatloads of oyster shells into the shallow waters off Point San Quentin over the weekend, hoping the castoffs will seed the comeback of native oysters that once flourished in San Francisco Bay.

Twenty volunteers did much of the heavy lifting near the wooden pier of the Marin Rod and Gun Club, which provided a convenient jumping-off point for what sponsors say is the largest native-oyster restoration effort in California.

Oysters that once blanketed the bay largely disappeared after the Gold Rush and urban settlement brought overharvesting, pollution and habitat loss. Now that bay restoration has helped restore water quality, ecologists want to expand the few oyster populations that managed to hold on.

Drake's Bay Oyster Co. donated 24 pallet-loads, about 55 cubic yards, of oyster shells for the project. About 30 cubic yards were dumped Saturday and Sunday, the rest being saved for next spring.

Forming 2-foot piles on the bay floor, the shells make just enough of a solid, calcium-rich foundation to anchor living shellfish reefs in the bay's otherwise unholy muck.

Oyster larvae typically die in a couple of weeks if they can't find suitable bottom substrate, or cultch, upon which to attach and form their own shell. Other oyster shells are an ideal surface -- even though the donated shells in the restoration project are from a different variety, the Pacific oyster, or Crassostrea gigas, not the West Coast's native Olympia variety, Ostrea conchaphila. There aren't enough native shells available for the project.

Even if the restoration plan works, the tiny bay oysters will be too few to harvest. And because of copper and other heavy-metal contaminants in the estuary, the oysters that grow will be metallic-tasting and potentially unhealthy for humans.

Still, biologists financed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which contributed a $50,000 grant for the current phase of the work, say oysters are vital for the health of the bay.

"The goal is to build up these remaining populations to the point where they can sustain themselves," said Summer Morlock, a marine specialist with the agency. "It would be wonderful to imagine the day when we can have an oyster harvest. But that isn't really the goal."

The project is still very much in the small-scale, experimental phase. Biologists at the conservation group Save the Bay are also working on oyster-restoration projects at different sites around the bay. Restoration spots were picked based on where native oysters can still be found -- and where landowners are willing to allow access from shore.

On Sunday, Bill Craig, a Marin Rod and Gun Club volunteer, used his small motorboat to ferry out the last few sacks of oyster shells, along with scientists Rena Obernolte and Larry Floyd, both employees of MACTEC Engineering and Consulting Inc., a Petaluma company under contract to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The donated shells had undergone a long drying-out period at the Point Reyes oyster farm to keep any oceangoing invasive species from being imported into the bay. Volunteers bagged the shells in black mesh and stacked them like hay bales on wood pallets.

Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm Workers (in their own words with subtitles)

FrankDisco86·27 videos
While the local issue of the closing of the Drake’s Bay Oyster Farm has received a lot of coverage in the local media, a part of the story that has been over-looked is how the closing will affect the farm workers. This segment shot for the volunteer-driven and produced local news program Seriously Now tells the story of the workers in their own words.

To view the video please click on the link below or copy and paste it into your web browser:

Published on Feb 22, 2013

Fund Set Up to Help Save Drakes Bay Oyster Company

Earlier this month, we featured an article by James Bennett that highlighted the plight of an 80-year-old California family business with 30 full-time employees which drew 50,000 visitors per year that was shut down based on provably false environmental data. Through a non-renewal of their land lease, Drakes Bay Oyster Company was effectively shut down as of Nov. 30th under the contrived science that is typical of Agenda 21 and its many ancillary organizations that masquerade under their definition of “sustainability.”

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund has issued the following press release in a determined effort to help save the company. We encourage those who can afford it to assist in the defense of this American treasure and integral part of California’s food security and economy.

The Farm-to-Consumer Legal Defense Fund (FTCLDF) has agreed to administer a litigation fund to be used to help finance the Drakes Bay Oyster Company’s lawsuit against the United States National Park Service. Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) is a family-owned, environmentally sustainable oyster farm on the shores of Drakes Estero within the confines of the Point Reyes National Seashore in Marin County, California. The Lunny family has been farming and ranching in Point Reyes for more than three generations.

On November 29, 2012, Secretary of the Interior Kenneth Lee “Ken” Salazar issued his decision for the National Park Service (NPS) not to renew a lease DBOC had with the federal government and ordered the company off the land within 90 days. This would mean the job loss of 31 full-time employees and millions of dollars in oyster products.

DBOC filed a lawsuit against NPS on December 4, 2012 in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California, seeking a declaration that the decision not to renew its lease was not in accordance with applicable law. The company has also filed for Motion for a Preliminary Injunction seeking to put a hold on the Park Service’s decision while the lawsuit is ongoing.

Oyster farming has been conducted in the Drakes Estero (named for Sir Francis Drake who landed there in 1579) for thousands of years since the times of the first nations. In the early 1800s, Mexican land grantees established rancheros, and since then waves of American agricultural operations have continued to operate in the area.

In 1962 the Drakes Estero became part of a national seashore pursuant to an act of Congress. The over 8,000 acres surrounding the Drakes Estero and the Pacific Ocean shoreline were purchased by the federal government in 1972. The existing oyster operation at that time was granted a permit to operate from the federal government and did so for the next 40 years. In 2004, DBOC purchased the previous oyster operation and began to sustainably farm and harvest oysters at the site, taking over the lease and the permit.

DBOC represents the continuation of a California tradition. Since the 1930s thousands of Californians have made the trek to Drakes Bay to purchase oysters. The company’s oysters have long been featured in restaurants throughout the San Francisco Bay Area.

The Drakes Bay case is more than just being about preserving a California tradition, it’s a statewide food security issue as well. For each of the past three years, DBOC has been responsible for anywhere from thirty to forty percent of the state’s oyster production forcing the company out of business would mean that the state could only make up the lost production by importing from overseas.

DBOC and FTCLDF have entered into an agreement whereby the company will solicit support from its customers, supporters, restaurants and others from the Bay area and the surrounding counties of Marin, Sonoma and Napa and FTCLDF will administer the fund. Monies in that fund will be used to finance the company’s public interest litigation against the National Park Service.

Please click here to contribute to the fund for Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

Those wanting to make a tax-deductible donation may contact FTCLDF by phone at 703-208-FARM(3276) or by email at [email protected]

Point Reyes Visitors Warned Against Collecting Shellfish At Closed Drakes Bay Oyster Farm Site

POINT REYES STATION (CBS SF) — The last commercial oysters have been removed from Drakes Bay following the closure of the only oyster farm operating there and National Park Service officials are warning park visitors against collecting any remaining shellfish in the area.

The warning issued Friday by Park Service officials advises visitors to the Point Reyes National Seashore that the collection of Pacific oysters and Manila clams within Drakes Estero is now closed and, because the shellfish are not being monitored, could pose a health threat.

The warning follows the Wednesday closure of the Drakes Bay Oyster Co., which agreed in October to shut down following a long legal battle with the U.S. Interior Department over the loss of its lease.

The company, which also raised Manila clams, has removed every oyster from the water in compliance with the terms of the settlement, according to Ginny Cummings, the farm’s manager.

“We have taken anything out and with as much care as we always used in our operations,” Cummings said.

Cummings said the park service’s health warning is almost certainly unnecessary.

Not only is water quality in the bay excellent, but any stray oysters are unlikely to linger long, as they will quickly become food for the estero’s rays and other wildlife, she said.

The Drakes Bay Oyster Co. sued the U.S. Interior Department in federal court to challenge a 2012 decision by then-Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to allow its lease at an estuary of Drakes Bay to expire. Environmental groups supported the move to remove the oyster farm from the bay.

The company lost its bid for a preliminary injunction from a federal trial judge in Oakland and before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco.

The last legal step in the case came in June, when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal.

The oyster farm closed its retail and canning operations on July 31, but continued wholesale sales while negotiating with the National Park Service about the terms of a full closure.

The park service will take responsibility for the complex removal of onshore facilities and underwater oyster-farming structures spread over 1,000 acres of the estuary and will also provide federal relocation assistance to company employees.

The company’s demise was met with dismay by many in the Point Reyes area and in the sustainable foods community. The company, which sold oysters on site as well as to wholesalers, drew visitors from far away.

“It’s a huge loss,” Cummings said of the closure.

Oyster farm co-owners Kevin, Joe and Bob Lunny have said they plan to open an oyster restaurant in Inverness.

With the oysters pulled from the water and most of them sold to wholesalers, the company plans to hold one last party to thank those who have supported them over the years.

The potluck, which is open to the public, will take place Saturday, Jan. 3, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Point Reyes Station’s Green Barn, at 540 Mesa Road.

Those attending are asked to bring a dish to share as well as any alcoholic beverages they plan to consume. The company, in return, will provide music and oysters.

[display-posts category=”environment” wrapper=”ul” posts_per_page=𔄨″]

© Copyright 2015 by CBS San Francisco and Bay City News Service. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed

Scientific Review of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement

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In May 2012, the National Park Service (NPS) asked the National Research Council to conduct a scientific review of a Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) to evaluate the effects of issuing a Special Use Permit for the commercial shellfish operation in Drakes Estero for a ten year time span. Drakes Bay Oyster Company (DBOC) currently operates the shellfish farm in Drakes Estero, part of Point Reyes National Seashore, under a reservation of use and occupancy that will expire on November 30, 2012 if a new Special Use Permit is not issued. Congress granted the Secretary of the Interior the discretionary authority to issue a new ten year Special Use Permit in 2009 hence, the Secretary now has the option to proceed with or delay the conversion of Drakes Estero to wilderness. To inform this decision, the NPS drafted an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the DBOC Special Use Permit. Under the National Environmental policy Act (NEPA), as EIS is prepared to inform the public and agency decision-makers regarding the potential environmental impacts of a proposed federal action and reasonable alternatives. The Department of the Interior commissioned a peer review of the DEIS that was released in March 2012.

On the day I visited Prestige Oysters in San Leon in late September, one week had passed since Tropical Depression Imelda dumped 40 inches of rain on parts of Southeast Texas.

It wasn’t clear yet how the influx of fresh water into Galveston Bay would affect its oysters, but Lisa Halili, who started Prestige Oysters with her husband, Johnny, was watching.

An ideal oyster season needs some cold weather to help suck fresh water out of the bay. When the tides come back, the result is a good mixture of Gulf and fresh water that allows oysters to fatten up and get salty. Too much fresh water can lead the salinity of the bay to drop too low, causing oysters, which thrive in brackish or saltwater, to die.

“We’re knocking on wood that that doesn’t happen,” said Lisa Halili. “We were just coming back from Harvey and now the bay looks like a chocolate bar.”

Imelda was just the latest in a string of stressors that the Gulf oyster population and industry have had to contend with in the past decade or so. Hurricanes, droughts, floods and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill have all taken a toll. But through it all, Prestige Oysters has stayed as deeply committed to sourcing fresh, high-quality oysters as it has to harvesting them sustainably and restoring their ecosystem.

The story of Prestige Oysters started with one boat. After years of working as a deckhand in Louisiana, Johnny Halili, an Albanian immigrant who arrived in the U.S. in the ’70s, bought his first boat, the Lady Katherine. Lisa joined him as his deckhand and the couple spent years oyster fishing and shrimping, slowly growing the company. Today, Prestige Oysters is one of the leading oyster distributors and processors in the nation with the Halilis and their son, Raz, at the helm.

The company has two processing plants and several dock operations and relies on some 100 independent fishermen to harvest its oysters from public areas and private beds. The Halilis take pride in caring for the people they work with. Many of the fishermen they work with have become like family some grew up or went to high school with Raz.

“We want independent fishermen to know that when they sell us their product, we’re going to do our very best to market it, we’re going to try our best to get them a good, marketable price and they’re going to get paid for it,” said Lisa.

Since Prestige is a wholesale distributor, it doesn’t sell its oysters directly to restaurants. However, you can get a taste of their oysters at Houston establishments like Caracol, State of Grace and La Lucha. While bringing these briny, exquisite creatures to restaurant menus and to our plates is the company’s business, keeping the oyster reefs and the bay healthy is also a priority.

“Oysters are so important to our environment. If you don’t have the oyster, you’re not going to have a healthy ecosystem,” said Lisa.

The oyster is a keystone species, meaning that other species in the ecosystem largely depend on it. Oysters act as a natural filtration system. Each little oyster can filter up to 50 gallons of water per day, ridding it of sediment and other materials, which in turn improves water quality. In addition, oyster reefs provide an essential habitat for other fish species and protect the shoreline from wave energy that could lead to erosion and property damage.

For oysters to thrive, they need a good substrate to catch onto and grow. Gulf oysters spawn during warm weather in late spring to early fall. Fertilized eggs turn into larval oysters, which swim and eventually settle on the bottom, cementing themselves to a surface. Larvae that settle on a surface are called spat, and it takes 18 to 36 months for them to grow into an oyster. In Texas, oysters must be at least three inches to be harvested.

Watch the video: Last Day for Drakes Bay Oyster Companys Retail Business. KQED News


  1. Avshalom

    I do not understand the reason for such a stir. Nothing new and different judgments.

  2. Colquhoun

    A very useful thing, thank you !!

  3. Delray

    Congratulations, a very good idea

  4. Godewyn

    Funny as hell. Or, I'm afraid, it’s not funny, but creepy.

  5. Crayton

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  6. Gardale


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