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Populations of Steller sea lions, especially in the western Gulf of Alaska and Bering Sea, have been in decline since 1970. In November 2000, an Endangered Species Act consultation proposed more restrictive measures on the management of Alaska's groundfish fishery to reverse the decline. Concern that the new regulations would bring significant social and economic disruption prompted Congress to direct the North Pacific Fishery Management Council to sponsor an independent review on the causes of the sea lion decline. This report provides the results of the independent review.