Although Bering Sea pollock stocks remain strong and the huge multimillion-dollar commercial fishing quota was increased this month by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, the federal panel's scientific advisers issued a report complaining about the lack of data on declining marine mammals, especially the northern fur seal.

"On-going declines in northern fur seals have the potential to impact the pollock in the eastern Bering Sea," warned the Scientific and Statistical Committee, which advises the NPFMC.

"There is a report that the fur seals are declining steadily, particularly on St. Paul Island, but there is little information  on progress that may been made in determining when and where in their life cycles threats to fur seal survival and successful reproduction are occurring," according to the Scientific and Statistical Committee, a panel of scientists from state and federal agencies and universities in Alaska, Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Rhode Island.

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