John Ryan, KUCB - Unalaska

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School enrollment in the Pribilof Islands has been shrinking in recent years, along with the islands’ fishing economy. Download Audio

City and tribal-government employees on Alaska's St. Paul Island get Oct. 28 off each year for a holiday you might not have heard of: St. Paul Aleut Independence Day. It marks the day in 1983 when Saint Paul islanders gained their freedom from the federal government. Download Audio

With crab season under way in the Bering Sea, some 70 crab boats are bobbing around Alaska's Bristol Bay and the Aleutian Islands. About a dozen of those boats have a fisheries observer on board. The observers keep tabs on what the boats haul up from the deep. Keith Davis was supposed to be one of those observers, but he went missing in September while working on a boat off the coast of South America. Download Audio

William Wells lives and works at what may be the nation's most remote weather station. It's 300 miles off the west coast of Alaska (and 500 miles off the east coast of Siberia) in the Bering Sea. Even by St. Paul Island standards, his station is remote: it's off by itself, a few miles away from the village of 400 people who call St. Paul home. Download Audio

A Shell Oil icebreaker gained two passengers in the middle of the Pacific Ocean on Tuesday. French sailor Manu Wattecamps-Etienne dove onto the icebreaker in 20-foot seas Tuesday, about 12 hours after sending out a distress signal. He made the desperate jump--with his cat--about 350 miles southeast of Alaska's Dutch Harbor. Download Audio

Biologists and tribal officials in the Bering Sea off the west coast of Alaska are working to protect one of the world's greatest gatherings of seabirds. With a little unwilling help from wharf rats in Alaska's Dutch Harbor, the nation's busiest fishing port, they aim to keep rats as far away as Seattle from devouring the birds of the rat-free Pribilof Islands.

Shell Oil's Polar Pioneer rig left Alaska's Dutch Harbor for Port Angeles, Washington, on Wednesday. The energy giant's other Arctic rig, the Noble Discoverer, left Dutch Harbor for Everett, Washington, on Monday.

Shell's two Arctic oil rigs pulled into Unalaska's Dutch Harbor on Sunday, some 1,100 miles south of the company's drilling site in the Chukchi Sea. Download Audio

For the first time in five years, helicopters and cowboys are rounding up cattle by the hundreds on Umnak and Unalaska islands. The Bering Pacific Ranches at Fort Glenn on Umnak Island are herding their tundra-roaming cattle to take them to market. Download Audio

After sinking eight years and more than $8 billion into the effort, Shell Oil is pulling out of the Arctic Ocean. The company dropped the surprising news in a Sunday-night press release. Download Audio

Starfish from Mexico to Alaska have been hammered by a wasting disease that causes their arms to melt and fall off. Sea stars in the Aleutian Islands have not been affected yet.

Scientists flock to the Aleutians every summer to study the islands’ rich wildlife, long history and active volcanoes. For the past two summers, an interdisciplinary team has visited the Islands of the Four Mountains, in the central Aleutians, to study how resilient the earliest settlers had to be to live there thousands of years ago.

The biggest cruise ship ever to visit the Aleutian Islands pulled into Unalaska’s Dutch Harbor Tuesday morning. The floating city known as the Celebrity Millennium disgorged about 2,500 passengers and 1,000 crew. In tandem with nearly 300 passengers in town from the much smaller Le Boreal, the two cruise ships nearly doubled the population of Unalaska for the day. Download Audio

The classic postcard view of the town of Unalaska isn’t what it used to be. The nation’s oldest Russian Orthodox church still towers in front of a bay backed by tundra-covered mountains. Now, there’s also a bright orange, 200-foot barge floating in between them. Download Audio

The United States and Russia have agreed to combat illegal fishing. The two nations signed the agreement Friday at a meeting in Portland, Ore.

Throughout President Obama’s tour of Alaska last week, he spoke at length about efforts to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. He spoke very little about his support for Arctic Ocean drilling. The drilling policy could affect the global climate much more than any of Obama’s climate-friendly initiatives. Download Audio:

Throughout President Obama’s tour of Alaska last week, he spoke at length about efforts to reduce the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. He spoke very little about his support for Arctic Ocean drilling. The drilling policy could affect the global climate much more than any of Obama’s climate-friendly initiatives. Download Audio:

Pentagon officials say three of China’s surface-warfare ships, a resupply vessel and a landing craft were seen in international waters off the Aleutian Islands. Download Audio

The U.S. Coast Guard has two icebreakers in working condition. Russia has about 40. Canada, Finland and Sweden each have six or more. Obama proposed to speed up construction of a heavy icebreaker by two years. He wants the new ship to be polar-ready by the year 2020, rather than 2022. Download Audio

President Barack Obama’s visit to Alaska this week, aimed at highlighting his push to fight climate change, comes just two weeks after his administration approved drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean. Some Alaskan environmentalists see a disconnect between the president's rhetoric and his actions on climate change.