An ecological theme is worked effectively into an involving narrative: Ben Warren, ten, would like to grow up to make his living like his father--fishing in the Chesapeake Bay. But since that way of life has already become less lucrative, his mother is running a bed-and-breakfast in order to make ends meet. One of the guests is a graduate student studying the bay's ecology; Ben's dad considers him a natural enemy, since his work tends to inspire government regulation. But when Ben and his friend Matt are instrumental in capturing people who are polluting the bay with discarded oil, they spark a community gathering--at which the entire problem of land use is thoughtfully explored, while Ben and his father begin to rethink the future. Despite sketchy characters and a flat style, Sharpe has a good feel for her setting. A competent, well-plotted first novel.