An Ill Tide Up North

The Bering Sea is under assault. Will we exhaust the world's last great fishery?

"Fall down and you're history," says veterinarian Terry Springer as we crawl out on a rickety catwalk over a beach in Alaska's Pribilof Islands. Below us, thousands of fur seals flop around in a frenzy. The 600-lb. bulls herd their harems to protect them from rival males emerging from the brisk waters of the Bering Sea. As the big males toss the 110-lb. females around like beach toys, my first thought is that male fur seals have not yet embraced feminism. Springer, though, has no time for such anthropomorphic musing. The Colorado State University scientist is there to retrieve dead pups,...