How to & FAQ

New to the Council process or need some details on how to participate? Here you will find instructions for thing such as submitting public comment, signing up for oral testimony, giving presentations, joining the meeting(s) remotely and more. Use the Table of Contents to jump to topics on this page.

PFMC Online Meeting Procedures

The Pacific Fishery Management Council (PFMC) hosts meetings in the following formats:

In person meeting – All meeting participants are physically present in the same location with no virtual participation option.  

Virtual meeting – All meeting participants use technology to participate from different locations. Also called an online or remote meeting.   

Hybrid meeting – A combination of in-person and remote participation during a single meeting. 

Live broadcast meeting – An in-person meeting that is streamed or broadcast to a wider audience with limited or no audience participation.  

Council and Advisory Body Meetings 

The Council typically meets in person and the meetings are live streamed via YouTube or RingCentral. The public can submit written comments via the E-Portal in advance of the Council meeting and may also provide oral comment in person or remotely using the RingCentral Platform.  

YouTube recordings for past Council meetings are available by day. Each agenda item is time stamped and the index can be found by clicking “Show more” in the grey box below the Pacific Fishery logo. 

Advisory body meetings will be conducted via a combination of in-person and online (virtual, hybrid, live broadcast) formats depending on the purpose of the meeting. A dedicated public comment period is provided each day for all meetings.   

Responsibility of Remote Participants 

It is the responsibility of remote participants to familiarize themselves with the meeting platform prior to the meeting, utilize appropriate equipment, and ensure a stable internet connection.  Council staff are available to provide technical assistance, as appropriate, but cannot guarantee connectivity for remote participants.   

Disclaimer 

While Council staff will make every effort to ensure that virtual, hybrid, and live broadcasting is available for a particular meeting, it takes no responsibility for, and cannot be held liable for technical issues beyond its control. Technical issues may include but are not limited to the availability of the internet connection, device failure or malfunction, unavailability of the YouTube platform, or power outages. 

Written Public Comment

The Council utilizes an E-Portal for public comment to accept written comment in advance of the meeting, then to sign up for oral testimony for agenda items during the meeting.

The E-Portal will open approximately 20 days before the start of a Council meeting to accept written comment. Details for opening and closing dates for the E-Portal can be found at the top of each meeting page in the E-Portal.

Oral testimony (Public Comment) at the Council meeting

At 8am on the first day of the Council meeting the E-Portal will begin accepting sign ups for oral testimony. The sign up window will remain open until we reach the Public comment section of each Agenda Item at which point they will be closed.

Please note that if you are planning to give your oral testimony remotely, you must download and install the RingCentral application to your device to be able to participate. You cannot join via web browser to speak, it is a listen only connection, and there is also not a dial in via telephone only method for participating. You will also need to ensure you have a computer with microphone and speakers or a smartphone or tablet running the RingCentral application for your remote participation.

If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to Kris Kleinschmidt in advance of the meeting to test your settings as we will have limited ability to troubleshoot while the meeting is underway.

Tips for success:

  • If giving oral testimony remotely, download and install the RingCentral app, then test your microphone in advance of the meeting.
  • Wear a headset if possible and ensure you are in a quiet environment when giving your testimony.
  • If you have a Powerpoint or other visual aid that you intend to show during your testimony, you must submit it no later than 5pm the day before the agenda item.
  • You may attach a file to your oral testimony sign up. However, it will not be visible until after you have given your testimony.

Giving Oral Testimony? Follow these steps :

  1. Sign up for Public Comment in our E-Portal.

IF REMOTE:

  1. Join the meeting using the RingCentral app on a computer, smartphone or tablet with active microphone. (Meeting ID can be found on the current Council meeting page.)
  2. During Public Comment, your name will be shown on the list from the E-Portal sign up. Use the Hand Raise button in RingCentral to show you are online. When your name is called, we will enable your microphone, and you must unmute yourself to speak.

IF IN PERSON:

  1. Wait for your name to appear on the screen in the ballroom, and approach the Public Comment table when you are called upon.
  2. Press the button at the base of the microphone to enable/disable the mic.

Submitting a PowerPoint or other visual aid

If your public comment includes a PowerPoint, photo, video or other visual aid, you must submit your file to both Kris Kleinschmidt (kris.kleinschmidt@noaa.gov) and Hayden York (hayden.york@noaa.gov) no later than 5 p.m. the day before the agenda item. We will send a confirmation email once successfully received. If you do not get a confirmation email please follow up as sometimes spam filters block messages.

Please be sure to include:

  • Your name
  • Relevant agenda item in the email (Ex: Agenda Item F.5 – Refer to the Agenda)
  • Page numbers on the PowerPoint (this will help Council members reference specific pages should they have questions).

Don’t forget to sign up for oral testimony on the meeting page in the E-Portal. (Sign ups open at 8am on the first day of the Council meeting)

When it is time to present to the Council, you will be un-muted and can present your comments. PFMC IT will run the visual aid / presentation. Please indicate when you wish for us to advance the slide.

Joining the meeting remotely

Please note: We are currently allowing remote participation for the Council’s main session, and a few select Advisory bodies / Management teams. The rest of the teams will be meeting in person only with no remote option.

Need to give a presentation or be on hand to assist in answering questions to the Council remotely? Make sure to fill out our Interacting with the Council form so we know to look for you online, and how you will be joining.

Joining the Council Webinar:

To participate in the Council Webinar you must install the RingCentral app.

Please note: RingCentral recently retired their RingCentral Meeting (Powered by Zoom) app and transitioned to RingCentral Video, an internally hosted virtual meeting platform. If you have previously installed the RingCentral Meeting app, please uninstall it and install the latest version of RingCentral.

Unsupported App
Updated RingCentral Video App

If you wish to join the Council Webinar via web browser only, you can do so, but you will be an attendee in listen only mode. Need to present to the Council but can’t install the app?

Joining any other meeting we host:

For any other meeting we host, you can either use the installed app, or join the meeting through a web browser (without the need to download and install the RingCentral app).

Please note only Google Chrome & Microsoft Edge are currently supported (Firefox and Safari support coming soon).

Join using the RingCentral Video app:

  1. Download and install the RingCentral app.
  2. Launch the app, and click “Join a meeting”
  3. Enter the Meeting ID, and your name. Please add affiliation if applicable
    ex: Kris Kleinschmidt (PFMC IT)
  4. Click Join.
Video demonstrating how to use RCV Application

Join via a web browser:

  1. Click the link to join the meeting from our webpage OR navigate to: https://v.ringcentral.com
  2. If this is the first time you’ve joined via web browser, you may be prompted to allow access to your Mic. You will need to allow. if you happen to have the RingCentral app installed, it may prompt you to open it in the app vs web browser.
  3. Enter Meeting ID & your name, then click “Join.”
Video demonstrating how to join via web browser

I’ve heard I might need a panelist invite. How does it work?

A panelist invite only applies to Council meetings (not advisory body or management team meetings) and is intended for Committee members who cannot install RingCentral on their device.

A Panelist invite will generate a phone number to allow individuals the ability to communicate with the Council to present a report, PowerPoint, etc. It does not apply for giving public comment. The Council hosts its Council meetings using RingCentral Webinar, a variation of RingCentral Video which segregates participants giving presentations from attendees who are listening.

  • If you are using the RingCentral application, you do not need a panelist invite to be able to participate.
  • The only people who need panelist invites are those joining via web browser to give a presentation (public comment requires you to use the RingCentral app)
  • If you will be joining via web browser and will need the ability to speak during the meeting, please fill out our JotForm in advance of the meeting and we will create a panelist invite for you. You will not be able to share your screen, but will be able to communicate.
  • The panelist invite is an automated email from PFMC WEBINAR, and the key information is at the bottom of the invite where the “dial in” instructions are to join via telephone. You will join via web browser first (as an attendee) for the visual portion of the meeting, then follow the instructions in the invite to connect via telephone audio, using the unique to you participant ID to join your telephone to the Panelist list to be able to speak. *6 is your command to mute/unmute yourself.

Alternative options: Join using RingCentral smartphone or tablet app

RingCentral offers an app available in both iOS and Android app stores. Download and install the application to your smartphone or tablet to participate.

Travel & Reimbursement

All nonfederal members of the Pacific Fishery Management Council, Scientific and Statistical Committee, advisory subpanels, technical teams, work groups, ad hoc committees, staff, consultants, and specially invited individuals are eligible to receive reimbursement for limited per diem travel expenses when asked to travel for Council-related purposes.

Reimbursement is only allowed for expenses essential to transacting official Council business.

The claimant must also have a meeting invitation, which lists them as an attendee of the meeting. Such an invitation is usually sent about three weeks before every Council-funded meeting, typically in memorandum form, and includes the dates, times, and locations of the meeting along with the allowable per diem rates for lodging, meals, and incidental expenses.

For more information please visit our Travel & Reimbursement page

Other FAQ’s

What’s the best way to join the Council meeting webinar?

1) Download and install the RingCentral Meeting application.
2) Ensure you have a good internet connection.
3) Use a headset or earphones to aid in cutting down background noise. You cannot connect as an attendee using a telephone only and must use the RingCentral application.
3) Turn off video camera sharing (where applicable) to reduce bandwidth.

More information on RingCentral

How do I join the Council meeting stream and other advisory body or management team streams?

You can only connect to one meeting at a time. You can leave a meeting, and join another meeting based on your interests/participation. Alternatively, if you have multiple devices such as a tablet and computer, you could join one meeting on one, and another meeting on another.

More information on RingCentral

If I work for an organization that does not allow me to install applications, what do I do?

First, please consult your IT department.  In, our calls to various organizations we work with we have found overwhelmingly that their IT departments have approved the installation of the RingCentral Video application, or will allow joining via a web browser (no installation required). 

Learn more about using RingCentral

Can I just dial into the meeting with my phone to listen vs joining via a computer?

For the AB Meetings yes. For the Council Stream, unfortunately no. However, keep in mind, since you are not logging in via the application, you will not be able to supply your name for the host. This means on the participants list, you will appear as the phone number you dial in from. It also means there is no raise hand functionality for you, so in most cases you will be able to listen but not participate in the conversation.

If I don’t have a computer, can I join via a smartphone or tablet?

Yes!  Please visit your device’s app store and download the RingCentral application. This will allow you to join the meeting and either dial in via internet connection only (helpful if you’re connected to WiFi) or via a cellular connection.

How do I remotely submit and speak to a public comment during the meeting?

  1. First make sure you have joined the webinar (you must use the RingCentral app, and have a mic and speaker – no dial in telephone connection is allowed), and have entered your name so we can associate your comment with you on the attendee list. 
  2. Next sign up for a oral testimony on our E-Portal (sign ups open at 8am on Day 1 of the Council meeting and close for each Agenda Item when Public Comment starts for that Agenda Item.)
  3. Finally, when we get to the public comment period, the screen will be shared with the list of people who have signed up so you will know what order you fall in. The Chair will then call on individuals who are on that list to raise their hands in the RingCentral app, which will bring their names to the top of the list. From there, we will call on individuals and un-mute their microphones for testimony.
    Please note: if technical issues arise, we will move onto the next person signed up to comment. We will circle back at the end to allow you to attempt again. You can reach out to Kris Kleinschmidt (kris.kleinschmidt@noaa.gov) if you have issues.

For public comment, what if I have a PowerPoint, or something visual I’d like to show?

As with in-person Council meetings, we will allow the public to submit a PowerPoint or other visual aid in support of their oral testimony. These submissions need to be emailed to both Kris Kleinschmidt (kris.kleinschmidt@noaa.gov), and Sandra Mondal (sandra.mondal@noaa.gov) no later than 5pm the day before the Agenda item is to go on the floor. This allows time for processing, testing etc. to ensure we don’t have any difficulty sharing it on the screen. When your time to comment comes up, we will share the screen with your visual, and ask that you instruct us to advance the slide orally.

How do I participate in the morning state delegation meetings?

Each state will be providing and managing their own audio call-in numbers or webinar numbers. 

Why doesn’t the Council use other platforms that are approved by my organization?

The Council has spent a significant amount of time testing various meeting platforms. Ultimately the decision was made to use RingCentral because it met the primary needs of our organization.

The Council’s role is to host transparent and publicly accessible meetings to help facilitate fishery management. To manage these meetings and to ensure we are not victims of “zoom bombs” and other disruptions, it is important that our meeting platform allow us to limit those who can share their screens, unmute themselves, and control screen annotations, etc., while remaining easy for general public use.

We also need a platform with webinar functionality to host our Council meetings so that we can host hundreds of people and segregate panelists from attendees to ensure a smooth meeting flow. We also offer YouTube live streaming during our Council meetings as another way to make it easy to follow the Council process.

The Council continually looks for alternative solutions as products update and change over time in order to find the best platform that works for our mission.

What is the PFMC OneDrive Subscription?

The Pacific Council utilizes OneDrive to automate sharing Briefing Book materials to its subscribers. 
How it works:
Briefing Book materials are hosted on the council website (www.pcouncil.org). We also offer a OneDrive subscription as another tool to deliver the same Briefing Book materials to subscribers. Subscribers will get a hyperlink emailed to them (recommend bookmarking this) to open and view in a web browser. You will have the option to download content locally.

Files will be added to the OneDrive folder at the same time they are added to the website. To save on storage space, we will delete the previous meetings folder about two weeks before the next Council meeting when we upload that meetings contents.  All the older Council meeting files however, can be found on the Briefing Book Archive section of our website: https://www.pcouncil.org/briefing-book/

Instructions:
Fill out the form to become a OneDrive subscriber. Use the email address associated to your M365 / OneDrive account and we will add you as a member of the Briefing Book folder**.

**All OneDrive subscribers are read only. Meaning you can open and view the content but cannot add/delete/edit any files.