Despite government assurances that Alaska's Bering Sea pollock fishery—the nation's largest commercial fishery—is managed sustainably, the fish's population continues to decline. On Friday in Seattle, Washington, the North Pacific Fishery Management Council presented its 2009 survey data, showing that the population has dropped another 24% and is at its lowest level since 1980, although government scientists had anticipated that it would show signs of recovery. The drop is likely the reason for declines in the region's fur seal and Steller sea lion populations, conservationists say. Last year, the fishery was cut to 815,000 metric tons, down 1 million metric tons from the previous year, and a 46% reduction from 2006. Activists groups blame overfishing. This year's catch will be set in December.
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