Town of Provincetown
FY 2024 Budget
Division 3: Public Safety
As a town bordering on coastal waters that wishes to harvest shellfish, Provincetown is required by the FDA to appoint/employ a State Shellfish Officer as Constable for the primary purpose of enforcing food safety regulations. Home rule allows for the Town, with oversight and assistance from the Constable and State Division of Marine Fisheries, to ward over their shellfish resource as they see fit. For Provincetown today, this manifests itself in a focus on propagation for recreational wild harvest rather than commercial wild harvest, acting as Town liaison to the Shellfish Committee, biological contaminate reporting, monitoring water quality and environmental change, negotiating and maintaining relationships with State and Federal agencies to assist with townwide goals such as aquaculture permitting, economic development, mediating environmental conflicts between Town and State and justifying funding of infrastructure for cleaner seawater.
This proposal asks for the Shellfish Constable salary for FY24 be set at AFSCME Grade 7 Step 1, $2,000.00/year to fund the skilled support necessary to safely and professionally achieve program goals and an increase from $150.00/month for automobile allowance to $400.00/month for remote worker compensation.
Major Accomplishments for 2022-23
- Guided by requests from recreational permit holders, assisted the Shellfish Committee in bringing forth, to the Select Board, the opening of year-round shellfishing on the east end of Town. This agenda item was approved unanimously.
- Helped the Conservation Commission and Town Conservation Agent interact with the State Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs and Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries on hydraulic dredging issues at Herring Cove. This coordination has resulted in the burden of proof being shifted from the Town having to prove damage, to the permitting agency (MA DMF) having to prove that it is a safe activity regarding environmental issues outside of their purview, specifically erosion.
- Working with the State Area Biologist in charge of water quality monitoring, established local biological spill reporting methods between MA DEP, MA DPH, MA DMF and Provincetown.
- In support of Town infrastructure initiatives, was able to show tangible benefits to the safety of consuming shellfish harvested from our shores. This was due to previous and planned storm water remediation. Provincetown is the only recipient of this USDA funding to provide the Cape Cod Conservation District Representative and the US Natural Resources Conservation Service with this type of status change as evidence in support of future funding from the Federal government.
FY 2024 Objectives
- Provincetown has a comparatively short history with its shellfish resource. It is essential to form collective knowledge of the associated dangers. Both, danger when consuming as well as dangers from the environment when harvesting, need to be stressed to the community. The Shellfish Department intends to help holders of aquaculture and recreational permits work with the Shellfish Committee on programs to educate and assist those participating.
- The West End breakwater is the Town’s focus for recreational shellfishing and comprises two (2) of the five (5) areas Provincetown has designated as named for shellfish harvest. Each of the five (5) areas is distinct and have individual potential for best use. Building on the Town’s unanimous opinion to change the use of the East End harvest area, the Shellfish Department will seek consensus as to use of the remaining two (2) areas; Hatches Harbor and West End (boat ramp).
- Due to planned storm water remediation, Provincetown has a use opportunity for the area directly west of Provincetown Marina. If we choose, the area can change from “Prohibited from Harvest and Consumption” to “Seasonally Approved” for the same during the winter months. With the Town’s intention for integrated waterfront projects, the goal for the Shellfish Department will be to seek consensus as to how to treat this opportunity.