Council Operations: Council Operations

The Council is a process as much as it is an organization. From the first time a new solution or issue is brought forth in an advisory body or on the Council floor, the process of considering the issue from a variety of different angles begins. The Council process involves stakeholders of all stripes: commercial and recreational fishermen, fish processors, environmental interests, community interests, consumers, and the general public. Along with these stakeholders, fishery and habitat scientists, state and tribal representatives, the U.S. Coast Guard and National Marine Fisheries Service all weigh in on whether an idea has merit and how it should be implemented.

The Council process mainly occurs during Council meetings held five times a year. Future Council meetings are scheduled far in advance. At these meetings, the Council’s advisory bodies meet to provide information, recommendations and feedback to Council decision makers. Council and advisory body rosters provide names and contact information for members. In preparation for each Council meeting, the Council staff prepares a briefing book that includes overviews of each agenda item, background information, and public comment. These briefing books are available to the public on this site.

The Council’s Operating Procedures (COPs) and Statement of Organizational Practices and Procedures (SOPPs) guide the Council process and define how fishery management plans are created and amended.

The preparation, review, approval, and implementation of fishery management actions and the implementing rules and regulations under the Magnuson-Stevens Act (MSA) require the Council and NMFS, acting on behalf of the Secretary of Commerce (Secretary) to comply with the MSA and a variety of other applicable laws and Executive Orders, including the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Marine Mammal Protection Act, the Regulatory Flexibility Act (RFA), the Paperwork Reduction Act, the Information Quality Act, Executive Order (EO) 12866, and the Administrative Procedure Act.  A Regional Operating Agreement lists among the Council, the NMFS WCR, NWFSC, SWFSC, NOAA GC, and the NMFS OLE specifies responsibilities of each party in order to comply with these requirements.