Here's a National Marine Fisheries Service white paper that was posted briefly on the agency's website Monday and then removed.
Deckboss spoke with Jim Balsiger, head of NMFS for Alaska, who explained the document was a rough draft that was posted inadvertently.
Anyway, he said the gist of the paper is true: NMFS will subject its new Steller sea lion biological opinion to an "independent scientific review" via the Miami-based Center for Independent Experts.
This is good news for the commercial fishing industry, which faces big losses due to planned closures along the Aleutian chain. The BiOp calls for these fishing closures to protect food supplies for the endangered sea lions.
According to the white paper, NMFS might develop a new BiOp depending on the outcome of the independent review.
The fishing industry, of course, sees lots of other potential culprits in the decline of Steller sea lions, such as voracious killer whales and environmental shifts.