Resource managers are responsible for the stewardship of commercially or recreationally important populations of marine and terrestrial organisms. Managers must make decisions concerning the status and health of these populations for a variety of applications, the most common being whether the population is abundant enough to be harvested and what level of harvesting will have minimal impacts on future populations. Because of logistical constraints imposed by working in marine environments, managers of marine resources often have limited information about important population characteristics such as survival, growth, recruitment rate and how these parameters change spatially and temporally. Rather, decisions about harvest levels, for example, usually are limited to estimates of changes in standing stocks and size frequencies through time or between locations. It is rare that adaptive management strategies and experimental approaches are considered by fisheries managers; however, manipulative field experiments are the strongest and most efficient means available to managers to base decisions about the dynamics of a population. Soft-shell clams, Mya arenaria L., represent an important recreational fishery along the New Hampshire coast, but specifically in the Hampton-Seabrook Estuary.