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On an Alaskan island, a mayor fights for fur seals – and a new future

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Reuters

By Matthew Green and Nathan Howard ST. GEORGE ISLAND, Alaska (Reuters) – Fifty years ago, Patrick Pletnikoff spent his summers stripping blubber from the carcasses of seals clubbed to death in Alaska’s annual harvest, competing with other young men to show who wielded the fastest blade. Now he’s fighting for a bigger prize: to transform his native St. George Island’s fortunes and protect dwindling colonies of northern fur seals by creating Alaska’s first marine sanctuary in the surrounding waters – a move that would empower local people to limit fishing for the seals’ prey. Commercial sealing …

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