A powerful council that oversees the massive pollock fishing industry in the Bering Sea voted Monday night to place an unprecedented cap on the number of salmon that pollock fishermen accidently kill each year.
The decision by the North Pacific Fishery Management Council strikes at a debate that's boiled among Alaska fishermen for years: whether the pollock industry is inadvertently leaving Western Alaska villages without enough king salmon in their rivers.
It's a huge question. Hanging in the balance are an industry that catches billions of pounds of pollock a year to make everything from fish sticks to imitation crab meat, and the culture and economies of cash-poor villages that rely on high-value salmon for food and money.
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