the fishery and fishing communities. Therefore, the states of Virginia and Maryland should establish programs to collect baseline economic and sociocultural data. Such data should include economic information on production costs, including capital and labor expenditures, market trends and marketing practices, and changes in economic strategies and decision making in response to changes in the fishery. Sociocultural information should be collected on household- and community-level responses to changes in the oyster fishery and how such changes modify traditional sociocultural norms of such communities. The collection of economic and sociocultural data should be coordinated to maximize integration and complementarity. The data should be collected at different levels of scale, ranging from baywide to subregions and communities where existing industry structures (e.g., public versus leased), ecological conditions (e.g., salinity), and harvesting practices (e.g., power dredging versus patent tonging) could result in different sociocultural and economic consequences.
Without good baseline data and consistent data collection over the next 5 to 10 years, it is unlikely that the effects of management action can be separated from the effects of unrelated changes in the fishery. While there is a tradition of this type of observation in some social sciences, there have been few longitudinal studies of fisheries. This research program could be organized through local Sea Grant offices or through a multistate entity but should be designed and budgeted for the full 5- to 10- year period with research conducted by a team of social scientists.