The Oak Bluffs select board voted to appoint Donovan McElligatt to the position of town shellfish constable at its Tuesday meeting, after a hiring subcommittee deemed him to be the top contender for the role. The appointment was made in a 4-0 vote with select board member Emma Green-Beach abstaining, as she is executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Shellfish Group.
The shellfish constable is tasked with overseeing virtually all things shellfish within the town boundary — production, research, public safety, conservation, etc. — in addition to being responsible for enforcing the shellfish laws and regulations.
McElligatt, who comes to the Island after serving as shellfish warden for Mashpee, told the board he has been actively pursuing as much information he can about Oak Bluffs, and looks forward to learning more about the town and “immersing [himself] into Island culture.”
Noting the historical significance of the shellfish industry on the Island, select board vice chair Gail Barmakian said that the constable role differs from other types of career paths. It’s “a way of life,” she said.
McElligatt expressed his passion for shellfish, and emphasized the value that the resource brings to a community.
He said he hopes he will be able to sustainably surpass current levels of propagation and pave the way for a healthier fishery in the future. “I feel very fortunate to have been offered the opportunity to work for the town of Oak Bluffs,” McElligatt told the select board, “[and] would love to dedicate the next years of my life to the town of Oak Bluffs … I will give it my all.”
McElligatt is expected to begin his duties in an official capacity by mid-October.