Center for Independent Experts (CIE) Review of the 2010 Groundfish Biological Opinion
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National Marine Fisheries Service, Alaska Regional Office

Steller sea lions, photo: Dave Csepp

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).

Review Process

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.

CIE Reviewers

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

Documents Reviewed by the CIE Panel

Mandatory documents for the desk review (Chapter 1):

Mandatory documents for the panel review (Chapter 2):

Additional background documents:

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