At a shellfish hearing on Monday, Edgartown selectmen voted unanimously to suspend Nick Viera’s scalloping license for three years after the shellfish constable found high levels of seed scallops in his haul.

“The shellfish committee took it up last Monday, and they took the matter really seriously because Nick has had repeat violations in the past,” said shellfish constable Paul Bagnall.

The charges on Monday represented Mr. Viera’s fifth scalloping violation.

Most Atlantic bay scallops have an approximately two or three-year lifespan. In scallop aquaculture, “seed” refers to scallops smaller than 2.5 inches in size that are generally in their first year after spawning. Although Massachusetts state law allows scallopers to take 5 per cent of their haul as seed, Island rules don’t allow for scallopers to take any seed at all.

According to Mr. Bagnall, constable Warren Gaines found approximately 25 per cent seed in Mr. Viera’s bushels.

“When you go to take seed, you start to create a problem,” said shellfish committee member Les Baynes. “The seed is the future. It protects all of the other people who are earning a living on the pond.”

Mr. Viera, who was present at the hearing, said any seed found in his bushel was unintentional.

“I’m a scalloper. This is my main source of income,” Mr. Viera said. “I didn’t purposely mean to do that. I really thought they were was on the fence.”

Shellfish constable Paul Bagnall countered that claim. He said many of Mr. Viera’s scallops violated those conditions.

“It is very obvious when you are out there fishing what is a seed and what is an adult,” Mr. Bagnall said. “And suspiciously, all the seed was found at the bottom of the basket.”

Selectmen then voted to suspend Mr. Viera’s license for three years.

In other business, Edgartown appointed Catherine (Betsy) Buck as its new animal control officer. Ms. Buck has been serving as the interim animal control officer after 37-year veteran Barbara Prada retired in January.

“We had two very good applicants that came in,” selectman Michael Donaroma said. “We were pleasantly surprised. But [Betsy] had great experience and was already on the job. She had the edge.”

Town administrator James Hagerty said Ms. Buck had excellent qualifications.

“She has a veterinarian’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania,” Mr. Hagerty said. “At that point it was like...welcome aboard.”