Council Operations: Council and Advisory Bodies

For Council and Advisory Body Rosters, visit the “Rosters” webpage, or use the link to the left.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council consists of the Council itself, Council advisory bodies, and Council staff.

The Council consists of 14 voting members, including one representative of each states’ management agency, one obligatory member from each state, four at-large members, one tribal representative and one NMFS representative. The Secretary of Commerce appoints the obligatory, at-large, and tribal representatives, others are appointed by their respective agencies. The Council also has 5 non-voting members representing the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, The U.S. Coast Guard, the State of Alaska, and the Department of State. NMFS regional general council provides legal advice to the Council. The Council make decisions based on majority vote.

The Council has appointed a staff consisting of an Executive Director and Deputy Director, staff officers, and administrative staff. The Council staff provides support for the Council by arranging and planning meetings, providing briefing materials, staffing advisory bodies, facilitating implementation of fishery management plans, and administering funds for Council and committee expenses.

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s advisory bodies (including technical teams, advisory subpanels, committees and working groups) prepare and review information and provide input to help the Council make decisions.

All advisory body meetings are open to the public, but the advisory subpanels offer the best opportunity for public involvement in the process.

Scientific and Statistical Committee

The Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC) is a group of scientists from state and federal agencies, academic institutions, and other sources. The SSC reviews fishery management plans (FMPs), stock assessments, rebuilding plans, and other documents to ensure the Council is basing their decisions on the best available science. Among other duties, the SSC identifies scientific resources required for the development of FMPs and amendments; provides a multidisciplinary review of FMPs or amendments, and advises the Council on their scientific content; helps the Council evaluate statistical, biological, economic, social, and other scientific information; and makes recommendations on the composition of plan development, technical, and management teams. The SSC has subcommittees that focus on salmon, groundfish, highly migratory species, coastal pelagic species, ecosystem management, and economics. SSC members are selected by a vote of the Council. At-large members serve three-year terms, while management agency representatives serve indefinite terms.

Advisory Subpanels

Advisory subpanels represent the commercial and recreational fishing industry, tribes, the public, and conservation interests. They advise the Council on fishery management issues (such as annual management measures, FMPs, and amendments) and provide input into fishery management planning. Members are selected by a Council vote and serve three-year terms.

The Council has five advisory subpanels, one for each FMP being developed or monitored:

  • Groundfish Advisory Subpanel (GAP). This panel includes three fixed gear (at-large) commercial fishers, one conservation representative, two at-large processors, one at-sea processor, three sport fishers, two open access fishers, four trawlers (one bottom, one mid-water, two at-large), one tribal representative, and four charter boat operators (one for Oregon and Washington, one for northern California, and one for southern California).
  • Coastal Pelagic Species Advisory Subpanel (CPSAS). This subpanel includes three California commercial fishers, one Oregon commercial fisher, one Washington commercial fisher, three processors (one from each state), one California charter or sport fisher, and one conservation representative.
  • Highly Migratory Species Advisory Subpanel (HMSAS). This subpanel includes one member each from the commercial troll, purse seine, gillnet, and private recreational fisheries; two from the charter fisheries (one northern, one southern); three commercial at-large members; two processors (one northern, one south of Cape Mendocino); one conservation representative; one tribal; and one public at-large member.
  • Salmon Advisory Subpanel (SAS). Currently, this group comprises one tribal representative from California; one tribal fisher from the Washington coast; one gillnetter; three charter boat operators and three trollers (one from each state); four sport fishers (one from each state, including Idaho); one processor, and one conservation representative.
  • Ecosystem Advisory Subpanel (EAS). This subpanel consists of three representatives each from California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington; and one tribal representative.

Enforcement Consultants

Enforcement Consultants are representatives from state police agencies, state fish and wildlife agencies, NMFS regions, and the Coast Guard. They provide advice to the Council about whether proposed management actions are enforceable and how they affect safety at sea. There are seven enforcement consultants who serve indefinite terms.

Habitat Committee

The Habitat Committee (HC) works with other teams and panels on habitat issues that affect Council fisheries. The group helps develop ways to resolve habitat problems and avoid future habitat conflicts, and it makes recommendations for actions that will help achieve the Council’s habitat objectives. The HC includes one member each from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, and the National Marine Sanctuary program; one NMFS region representative and one NMFS science center representative; one at-large member; one conservation representative; four members from the four state fishery agencies; two tribal representatives; one commercial and one sport fishing industry members. The Council chair requests nominees from these agencies and organizations. HC members representing NMFS, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Marine Sanctuaries, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, and state agencies serve indefinite terms. Other HC members serve three-year terms.

Groundfish Allocation Committee

The Groundfish Allocation Committee (GAC) is charged with developing options for allocating certain groundfish species among the commercial and recreational sectors and among gear groups within the commercial sector. The purpose of the GAC is to distribute the harvestable surplus among competing interests in a way that resolves allocation issues on a short- or long-term basis. The GAC is composed of voting members who sit on the Council (one representative each from the California, Oregon and Washington management agencies, NMFS, PSMFC, and the Council Chair). NOAA Northwest Regional Counsel provides legal advice. In addition, there are seven non-voting members representing the non-whiting trawl, whiting trawl, fixed gear, open access, and recreational sectors; conservation groups; and processors.

Plan Development, Technical, and Management Teams

Plan development, technical, and management teams are working groups of state, federal, tribal, and nongovernmental biologists and economists. Members serve indefinite terms and are selected by a vote of the Council.

Technical and Management Teams monitor fisheries and prepare stock assessments and fishery impact analyses. They may monitor catch rates and management impacts, analyze or recommend harvest limits, develop rebuilding plans, or conduct other tasks assigned by the Council. Currently, the Council has a  Salmon Technical Team, Groundfish Management Team, Coastal Pelagic Species Management Team, Salmon Model Evaluation Workgroup, Highly Migratory Species Management Team, and Groundfish Endangered Species Work Group.

Plan Development Teams focus on the development of fishery management plans. This includes appraising Council fisheries and resources, working with other teams to draft fishery management plans and amendments, presenting alternative management objectives to the Council, analyzing the short- and long-term tradeoffs of management measures, helping Council and NMFS staff prepare related documents, attending public hearings, advising the Council on biological and socioeconomic impacts of fisheries management, providing information to advisory subpanels, and presenting stock assessments and analyses to the SSC for review.

Standing Committees

Standing committees are made up of current Council members. The Budget Committee generally meets three times a year to review the Council’s budget status and grant proposals, and the Legislative Committee monitors federal legislation on Council operations and West Coast fisheries and may develop positions and a course of action for Council consideration.

Ad-Hoc Committees

Ad-hoc committees are created to serve special needs. Ad-hoc committees that exist now or have existed in the recent past include:

  • Coastal Pelagic Species Tribal Allocation Committee
  • Cost Recovery Committee
  • Ecosystem Workgroup
  • Groundfish Amendment 24 Workgroup
  • Groundfish Electronic Monitory Policy Advisory Committee
  • Groundfish Electronic Monitory Technical Advisory Committee
  • Groundfish Essential Fish Habitat Review Committee
  • Groundfish Process Improvement Committee
  • Groundfish Trawl Individual Quota Committee
  • Mitchell Act Committee
  • South of Humbug Pacific Halibut Policy Committee
  • South of Humbug Pacific Halibut Workgroup
  • Trawl Rationalization Regulatory Evaluation Committee