Menemsha pond is officially open for scalloping — despite some spirited protestations from the Aquinnah town administrator.

At their meeting on Tuesday, Aquinnah selectmen voted unanimously to open the town’s portion of the up-Island pond to scalloping, even though residents who didn’t scallop last year would have to wait until selectmen meet Friday at 9:30 to get signatures on their so-called long-form permits. Residents who scalloped last year would be able to get their short-form permits renewed without selectmen signatures, town administrator Jeffrey Madison said.

The pond opening is effective Wednesday, Dec. 4, with a commercial daily limit of two bushels per person.

Although the opening came at the recommendation of the town shellfish department, Mr. Madison felt it was unfair to immediately open the pond on short notice because those who didn’t scallop last year wouldn’t be able to participate on opening day. Part of his reasoning stemmed from the fact that last year’s season was short.

“I believe everyone should have an opportunity to go scalloping on the first day of the season. Just because you have to fill out a longer form it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t get to go out on the first day,” Mr. Madison said. “There’s a fairness issue here.”

Selectman Juli Vanderhoop and shellfish constable Chip Vanderhoop felt differently. Both agreed that because the state allows towns to open the pond on Oct. 1, anyone who wants to scallop should be prepared for a December opening, whether they need the long form permit or not.

“It’s not about fairness, it’s about what happens traditionally year to year,” Mr. Vanderhoop said. “It’s about getting your behind ready to go scalloping when it’s time to go scalloping. If anybody cries about it, it’s their own fault. It’s always been the same way.”

Ultimately, selectmen decided to open the pond, and provide Mr. Madison with a list of residents who had scalloped the prior year so there was less confusion about the process.

Selectman Jim Newman asked Mr. Vanderhoop if there were scallops in the pond.

“There are,” Mr. Vanderhoop said. “I don’t know how long it’s going to last.”

In other business, selectmen discussed holding a special town meeting to authorize the use of money from the town’s stabilization to cover legal expenses. Aquinnah had originally scheduled a town meeting for earlier this fall but had to cancel when it didn’t reach a quorum.

The town has been engaged in a long-running legal battle with the Wampanoag tribe over the construction of a gambling facility on tribal land within the town, retaining the Boston law firm Goodwin as well as town counsel Ron Rappaport to help litigate the case. Proceedings have occurred throughout the calendar year, reaching their climax in a federal court hearing this summer.

According to Mr. Madison, the town now owes outstanding legal bills with payments due to Goodwin at the end of the year, necessitating a town meeting by the third week in January. He also said there were other agenda items that needed attention, including the town’s portion of funding for the sheriff’s communication center.

“We never got a quorum for our special town meeting, and it’s presenting a problem in that we are going to have a significant shortfall with our legal expenses,” Mr. Madison said.

While selectmen agreed that a meeting was necessary, Mr. Newman suggested that because of the importance of the issue it be put to a special election ballot vote rather than a vote on town meeting floor.

“This is an important decision, and we need everybody’s input,” Mr. Newman said. “This should not be a vote that is surrounded by a handful of voters. This is crucial, because if it is turned down, that’s going to mean that people don’t want to pursue this situation. Which I personally think we need to do.”

Mr. Madison said he would check with town counsel and the town clerk about the possibility of holding a special election. Meanwhile, selectmen said that they wanted to move forward with a special town meeting between Jan. 6 and 18.

Selectmen also:

• Extended resident James Sanfilippo’s shellfishing lease until 2025. Mr. Sanfilippo, who grows quahaugs, has the town’s only active aquaculture grant license.

• Discussed the potential donation of landlocked, 6.5-acre parcel off State Road to the town. The land is owned by resident Albert Schechterman and is valued at $56,400, according to town assessor records.

• Discussed holding an executive session to negotiate an extension of police chief Randhi Belain’s contract.