The Oyster Question: Scientists, Watermen, and the Maryland Chesapeake Bay since 1880 by Christine KeinerThe Oyster Question: Scientists, Watermen, and the Maryland Chesapeake Bay since 1880 by Christine Keiner

The Oyster Question: Scientists, Watermen, and the Maryland Chesapeake Bay since 1880

byChristine Keiner

Paperback | October 1, 2010

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In The Oyster Question, Christine Keiner applies perspectives of environmental, agricultural, political, and social history to examine the decline of Maryland’s iconic Chesapeake Bay oyster industry.

Oystermen have held on to traditional ways of life, and some continue to use preindustrial methods, tonging oysters by hand from small boats. Others use more intensive tools, and thus it is commonly believed that a lack of regulation enabled oystermen to exploit the bay to the point of ruin.

But Keiner offers an opposing view in which state officials, scientists, and oystermen created a regulated commons that sustained tidewater communities for decades. Not until the 1980s did a confluence of natural and unnatural disasters weaken the bay’s resilience enough to endanger the oyster resource. Keiner examines conflicts that pitted scientists in favor of privatization against watermen who used their power in the statehouse to stave off the forces of rural change. Her study breaks new ground regarding the evolution of environmental politics at the state rather than the federal level.

The Oyster Question concludes with the impassioned ongoing debate over introducing nonnative oysters to the Chesapeake Bay and how that proposal might affect the struggling watermen and their identity as the last hunter-gatherers of the industrialized world.

Christine Keiner teaches environmental studies and the history of science at Rochester Institute of Technology.
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Title:The Oyster Question: Scientists, Watermen, and the Maryland Chesapeake Bay since 1880Format:PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 9.03 × 6.04 × 0.87 inPublished:October 1, 2010Publisher:University Of Georgia PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0820337188

ISBN - 13:9780820337180

Reviews

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Foreword, by Paul S. Sutter
Acknowledgments
Introduction: Culture Wars and the Maryland Oyster

Chapter 1. Chesapeake Bay: Protein Factory, Working Landscape
Chapter 2. Culture Shock: Progressive Era Science, Tidewater Tradition, and the Oyster Privatization Debate
Chapter 3. State Farming under the Chesapeake: Interwar Oyster Conservation, Science, and Politics
Chapter 4. Postwar Pressures: The Improbable Persistence of the Oyster Commons
Chapter 5. Brave New Bay: Bridging Ecology and Economics via Native versus Nonnative Oysters

Epilogue: Toward a Protein Factory Farm
Notes
Index

Editorial Reviews

A first-rate analysis of the interaction between science, environment, and politics alongside one of the nation’s oldest and most important conservation problems. This book will be necessary reading for anyone who wonders why good science doesn’t necessarily lead to good policy, in resources management or any other area. - Arthur F. McEvoy - author of The Fisherman's Problem: Ecology and Law in the California Fisheries, 1850–1980