POINT REYES (KCBS) – The controversy over whether an oyster farm should continue operating in the protected waters of Point Reyes National Seashore will be the topic of discussion on Wednesday as Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is meeting with people on both sides of the issue in Marin County.

The issue is expected to be settled by the end of the month when the federal permit expires for Drakes Bay Oyster Company.

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KCBS’ Anna Duckworth Reports:

Salazar has sole discretion in deciding whether the company’s permit should be terminated when it expires on November 30 or renewed for 10 years.

Drakes Bay Oyster Company owner Kevin Lunny said in its nearly 100 years, the company has been part of a benign coexistence that produces an irreplaceable resource.

“The San Francisco Bay Area will just lose a huge portion of their oyster resource, which will have to come from out of the country because our domestic supply cannot meet our demands,” said Lunny.

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But Amy Trainer, executive director of the Environmental Action Committee of West Marin, said Congress in 1976 set this month’s sunset date for the operating permit so the area can be protected and that promise must be kept.

“There’s highly aggressive marine invasive species that are spreading, so there are a number of adverse environmental impacts,” said Trainer.

Drakes Estero was designated as a Wilderness Area in 1976. Its waters support a dozen species of marine mammals including one of the largest breeding colonies of harbor seals on the California coast.

Salazar is expected to meet with Lunny on Wednesday and take a tour of the farm. He will also meet with wilderness advocates who are calling for the permit to be terminated when it expires at the end of the month.

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