Wellfleet, Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has been considered the home of one of the world’s great oyster beds for generations. This history created a fertile environment for the Wellfleet SPAT to emerge. Wellfleet SPAT, Shellfish Promotion and Tasting, Inc., is a non-profit organization chartered in 2002 – the year after Wellfleet’s first OysterFest. SPAT is devoted to sustaining Wellfleet’s shellfishing and aquaculture industries. Even the name honors the oyster. The acronym SPAT is also the name for a newly attached baby oyster.
SPAT promotes knowledge and interest in Wellfleet’s shellfishery by educating the community. Through events and seminars on shellfishing and environmental issues, SPAT celebrates and spreads the word about the town’s famous oysters and clams and its deep-rooted shellfishing traditions. SPAT produces the Wellfleet OysterFest, and holds several smaller programs and outreach events each year. Proceeds from these activities support the organization’s educational mission which includes a local college scholarship program, community grant awards and initiatives to support Wellfleet’s shellfishing and aquaculture industries. To date, SPAT has awarded $406,000 between the high school scholarship program and its community grants.
The SPAT Board of Directors dedicates itself to ensuring that the organization’s mission is carried out to its fullest potential. The all-volunteer board is made up of nine elected members with three elected officers. Together as a group, the board represents individuals who are committed to a thriving shellfishing industry and are invested in the positive public perception of the Town of Wellfleet. Board members also draw from a diversity of professional experiences and disciplines that represent a unique mix of understanding, knowledge and skills that help direct the organization in the most beneficial way. Members come from the fields of education, the shellfishing industry, area businesses, non-profit sectors and professional associations. The balance of the board members’ individual strengths and professional experiences, combined with their vested interest in the Town of Wellfleet and SPAT’s mission, are part of the reason why SPAT as an organization has been successful, and why the Wellfleet OysterFest has become such a successful event.