Center for Independent Experts Review
Center for Independent Experts (CIE) Review of the November 2010 Biological Opinion on the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska Groundfish Fisheries
The National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) contracted with the Center for Independent Experts to conduct a peer review of the November 2010 Biological Opinion on the Alaska groundfish fisheries, which NMFS prepared under Section 7 of the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The CIE is a group that provides independent peer reviews of the science upon which many of NMFS's management decisions are based, including reviews of stock assessments for fish and marine mammals. The structure and operation of the CIE are designed to ensure the quality, relevance, and independence of the reviews. Independence is maintained by eliminating any role for NMFS in selecting reviewers or in approving the content of reviewers' reports. Reviewers must adhere to a strict conflict of interest policy.
The ESA requires each federal agency to insure than any action authorized, funded, or carried out by the agency is not likely to jeopardize the continued existence of any threatened or endangered species or adversely modify critical habitat. Action agencies must consult with NMFS or the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service regarding any action that may affect listed species. For fisheries managed under the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act, NMFS is the action agency and must complete the consultation internally, involving its Sustainable Fisheries Division (responsible for authorization of the fisheries) and Protected Resources Division (responsible for implementing the ESA).
The subject of this review is the scientific information and analysis contained in the Biological Opinion. The review consists of two parts: (1) a desk review of the Biological Opinion including information available to NMFS through September 3, 2010, and (2) a panel review of new information that became available subsequent to issuance of the Biological Opinion. The Scope of Work and Terms of Reference (TOR) for the CIE review are available.
Dr. Don Bowen
Population Ecology Division
Bedford Institute of Oceanography
Department of Fisheries and Oceans
Dartmouth, Nova Scotia
Dr. Brent Stewart
Senior Research Scientist
Hubbs-Sea World Research Institute
San Diego, California
Dr. Kevin Stokes
Wellington, New Zealand
CIE Peer Reviews of the Biological Opinion
CIE Review Meeting
- August 1-2, 2012: Seattle, WA
- Meeting Notice
- Meeting attendees (Note: If you attended, but are not on this list, please contact Mr. Dana Seagars (firstname.lastname@example.org; 907-271-5005) to be added to the list.
- Meeting Materials
- Presentations to the CIE by:
- D. Fluharty, Introduction and Purpose of CIE Meeting
- D. Bernard, State of Washington, Department of Fish and Wildlife and State of Alaska, Deparment of Fish and Game
- T. Loomis, Fishing Industry Panel
- M. Horning, Oregon State University and Alaska Sea Life Center
- V. Burkanov, Marine Mammal Protection Zones in Russia
- S. MacLean, North Pacific Fishery Management Council
- J. Warrenchuk, Oceana
- S. Lowe, AFSC Update on Pacific cod, pollock, and Atka mackerel fisheries assessments
- L. Loggerwell, AFSC Fishery Interaction Team: Aleutian Islands pollock and Steller sea lion research
- L. Fritz, NMML, Western Steller Sea Lions: Population Trends and Vital Rates
- T. Gelatt, NMML, Diet of the Western stock Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) from 1999-2009
- B. Fadely, NMML, Steller sea lion tracking using satellite telemetry in the western/central Aleutian Islands after the 2010 Biological Opinion
- A. Trites, UBC, Is fishing for Atka mackerel responsible for the decline of Steller sea lions in the western and central Aleutian Islands?
- Supporting Materials provided to the CIE by Presenters
- B. Tweit, Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife
- D. Vincent-Lang, Alaska Department of Fish and Game
- Review by Holmes of Maniscalco et al.: Evidence for high natality rates among Steller sea lions in the Gulf of Alaska, 2009
- Review by Johnson of Maniscalco et al.: Estimating Natality Rate of Steller Sea Lions at Chiswell Island Rookery, Alaska, 2009
- G. Merrigan: Fishing Industry Perspective of the 2010 Biological Opinion and New Available Information
- S. Murray, Oceana
- H. Brandon, World Wildlife Fund
- Oceana, Ocean Conservancy, Greenpeace USA, and World Wildlife Fund
- AFSC Steller sea lion fishery and oceanographic analysis for the 2010 BiOp, February 2010
- Diving Behaviors and Movements of Juvenile Steller Sea Lions (Eumetopias jubatus) Captured in the Central Aleutian Islands, April 2005, Lander, et al. March 2011
Documents Reviewed by the CIE Panel
Mandatory documents for the desk review (Chapter 1):
- National Marine Fisheries Service. November 2010. Final Biological Opinion: Authorization of Groundfish Fisheries under the Fishery Management Plans for Groundfish the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area and the Gulf of Alaska. 472p + 224p.
- National Marine Fisheries Service. March 2008. Recovery Plan for the Steller Sea Lion:Eastern and Western Distinct Population Segments (Eumetopias jubatus). Revision. 325p.
- L. Boyd (2010) Views expressed by Professor I.L. Boyd on the Biological Opinion Groundfish Fisheries, Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Area US National Marine Fisheries Service – 8 pp.
- J. M. Maniscalco, A. M. Springer, and P. Parker (2010) High Natality Rates of Endangered Steller Sea Lions in Kenai Fjords, Alaska and Perceptions of Population Status in the Gulf of Alaska – 33 pp.
- D. Calkins (2008) Fixed Gear Marine Mammal Study, North Pacific Wildlife Consulting, LLC. NOAA Grant Number: NA07NMF4390024, April 6, 2008– 45 pp.
Mandatory documents for the panel review (Chapter 2):
- Bernard, D. R, S. J. Jefferies, G. Knapp, and A. W. Trites, 2011, An Independent Scientific Review of the Biological Opinion (2010) of the Fisheries Management Plan for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Management Areas, for Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG) and Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW), October 8, 2011. 128 pp.
- M. Horning1 and J. E. Mellish. (2012). Predation on an Upper Trophic Marine Predator, the Steller Sea Lion: Evaluating High Juvenile Mortality in a Density Dependent Conceptual Framework. January 2012 | Volume 7 | Issue 1 | e30173. Plosone.org. 10 pages.
- J.N. Waite, V.N. Burkanov, and R.D. Andrews (2012). Prey competition between sympatric Steller sea lions (Eumetopias jubatus) and northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus) on Lovushki Island, Russia. NRC Research Press. 18 pages.
- Demaster, D. (2011) Memorandum for Jim Balsiger regarding Results of Steller Sea Lion Surveys in Alaska, June-July 2011, December 5, 2011, Alaska Fisheries Science Center. 18 pages
- Trites, A.W., R. Flinn, R. Joy, and B. Battaile. 2010. Was the decline of Steller sea lions in the Aleutian Islands from 2000 to 2009 related to the Atka mackerel fishery? University of British Columbia Fisheries Centre Working Paper 2010-10. 29 pp.
- Conn, P. B. (2011). An internal review of Trites et al. 2010, NOAA/NMFS/NMML, Polar Program. February 11, 2011. 3 pages.
- Demaster D. (2011) Presentation to the North Pacific Fishery Management Council of NMFS Comments on the Bernard et al. 2011 review of the 2010 biological opinion. 24 pages.
- T. C. Y Hui. (2011). Steller Sea Lions and Fisheries: Competition at Sea? Masters Thesis University of British Columbia, March 2011. 114 pp.
Additional background documents:
- Fisheries of the Exclusive Economic Zone off Alaska; Steller sea lion protection measures for the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Groundfish fisheries off Alaska. Interim Final Rule. 26p.
- Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Bering Sea and Aleutian Islands Management Areas.
- Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska.
- 2011 North Pacific Groundfish Stock Assessment and Fishery Evaluation Reports for 2012 . Introduction 50 pages, BSAI Pacific cod chapter: 476 pages, BSAI Atka mackerel chapter: 1156 pages. BS pollock chapter: 168 pages, Aleutian Islands pollock chapter 258 pages.
- N. Zerbini, J. M. Waite, J. W. Durban, R. LeDuc, M. E. Dahlheim, and P. R. Wade (2007). Estimating abundance of killer whales in the nearshore waters of the Gulf of Alaska and Aleutian Islands using line-transect sampling. Mar Biol (2007) 150:1033–1045 DOI 13 10.1007/s00227-006-0347-8. 13 pages.
- J. Durban, D. Ellifrit, M. Dahlheim, J. Waite, C. Matkin, L. Barrett-Lennard, G. Ellis, R. Pitman, R. LeDuc, and P. Wade ( 2010) Photographic mark-recapture analysis of clustered mammal-eating killer whales around the Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska. Mar Biol DOI 10.1007/s00227-010-1432-6. 14 pages.
- Aleutian Islands Fishery Ecosystem Plan. North Pacific Fishery Management Council. December 2007. 190p.
- 2000 Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation Biological and Incidental take Statement. Authorization of Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands groundfish fisheries based on the Fishery Management Plan for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Groundfish; and Authorization of Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries based on the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska. November 2000. National Marine Fisheries Service. 2000. 588p.
- 2001 Biological Opinion and Incidental Take Statement. October 2001. Authorization of Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands groundfish fisheries based on the Fishery Management Plan for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands Groundfish as modified by amendments 61 and 70; and Authorization of Gulf of Alaska groundfish fisheries based on the Fishery Management Plan for Groundfish of the Gulf of Alaska as modified by amendments 61 and 70. Parallel fisheries for pollock, Pacific cod, and Atka mackerel, as authorized by the State of Alaska within 3 nm of shore, plus selected supporting documents. National Marine Fisheries Service. 2001. 201p.
- 2003 Supplement to the Endangered Species Action Section 7 Biological Opinion and Incidental take statement of October 2001, plus appendices. National Marine Fisheries Service. 2003. 183p.
- Endangered Species Act and implementing regulations
- Background on the Endangered Species Act Section 7 Consultation Process and the Biological Opinion on the Federal Groundfish Fisheries in the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and the Gulf of Alaska
- Endangered Species Consultation Handbook. US Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service, 1998; 315pp.