Wellfleet Shellfish Constable Receives Top State Honor

WELLFLEET – In a recent Wellfleet selectboard meeting, Edgartown Shellfish Constable Paul Bagnall awarded Wellfleet’s Nancy Civetta as Shellfish Constable of the Year for 2021 on behalf of the Massachusetts Shellfish Officers Association.

The peer nominated award was given to Civetta from a pool of 59 shellfish constables serving coastal communities in Massachusetts.

Every town surrounding Wellfleet nominated her for the award.

“Nancy hit the ground running a couple years ago and she’s done a fantastic job. She attends the meetings, asks lots of questions, done lots of learning and she’s actually given us some instruction,” said Bagnall.

Civetta has served as Wellfleet’s Shellfish Constable since 2017.

“I’m really humbled to receive this incredible award from my industry peers and division of Marine Fisheries colleagues,” said Civetta.

“It’s especially moving to receive this recognition after having been in my position for just four years, and I just hope it’s a testament to my dedication to the shellfishing industry and my respect and passion for the amazing men and women who make their living on the water, because they’re the ones who make the Wellfleet brand so successful,” she said.

Since becoming Constable, Civetta has helped expand oyster propagation and distribution programs in Wellfleet and written grants to facilitate funding from outside organizations.

She also created the Town Shellfish Crier email newsletter to keep the community up to date about shellfish area news and events and worked with the Rights to Public Access Committee to help preserve waterways shellfishermen use to make their livelihood.

This past winter, as shellfishermen grappled with restaurant shutdowns due to the pandemic, Civetta collaborated with shellfishermen, non-profits, the state of Massachusetts and the town of Wellfleet to create the Wellfleet Shellfishermen’s Farmers Market.

The effort helped put money in the pockets of shellfishermen through direct sales to consumers.

“What Nancy did to get the farmed oysters to the general public last winter was above and beyond the call of duty,” said Bagnall.

“She had a lot of cooperation from people in town as well, but she was more than willing to share with us how she did it. Other towns are starting to think about it.”

The shellfishing industry is vital to Wellfleet’s economy, with nearly ten percent of the town’s population either registered as shellfishermen or working in the industry.

“I am honored to oversee an eight million dollar industry that is growing and changing rapidly, and my goal is to continue to work hard, advocate for our industry and make you proud,” said Civetta.

“I will always maintain a focus to ensure that shellfishermen in Wellfleet today and the generations to come have a sustainable, rewarding and honorable way to make a living here year-round.”

By, Matthew Tomlinson, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

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