Fact Sheet: Common terms used in salmon management

Acceptable biological catch (ABC). A scientific calculation of the sustainable harvest level of a fishery, used to set the upper limit of the annual total allowable catch.

Accountability measure (AM). A management control (such as a harvest limit) designed to prevent annual catch limits from being exceeded.

Anadromous. Fish that spend their adult life in the sea, but swim upriver to freshwater spawning grounds in order to reproduce.

Annual catch limit (ACL).  ACLs are a cornerstone of the reauthorized Magnuson-Stevens Act of 2006. ACLs are vaguely defined in the Act as the calculated catch yield that cannot be exceeded for a particular species. Fisheries managers use the best available science to calculate the value of ACLs and seasonal limits.

Biological opinion (BO, BiOp). A scientific assessment issued by the National Marine Fisheries Service or U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as required by the Endangered Species Act for listed species. Determines the likelihood of an action to jeopardize the existence of a species listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Bycatch. Fish that are unintentionally captured in a fishery, but that are discarded (returned to the sea) rather than being sold, kept for personal use, or donated to a charitable organization. Bycatch plus landed catch equals the total catch, or total estimated fishing mortality.

Central Valley Index (CVI). A measure of the number of salmon produced by California’s Central Valley rivers, this is the sum of annual ocean fishery landings south of Point Arena, plus the spawning escapement of adult Central Valley stocks in the same year.

Coded-wire tag (CWT). A small piece of stainless steel wire that is injected into the snout of a hatchery-produced juvenile salmon or steelhead. Each tag is etched with a binary code that identifies its release group.

Conservation objective. Sometimes called the spawning escapement goal: the number of salmon needed to return to spawn in order to maintain the health of the stock.

de minimis. A restrictive harvest policy designed to minimize risks to stocks of concern while allowing minimal incidental impacts in fisheries targeting healthy and harvestable stocks.

Escapement. The number or proportion of fish surviving (escaping from) a given fishery at the end of the fishing season and reaching the spawning grounds.

Escapement goal. Same as “conservation objective” (see above).

Evolutionarily significant unit (ESU). A distinctive group of Pacific salmon, steelhead, or sea‐run cutthroat trout that is uniquely adapted to a particular area or environment and cannot be replaced.

Fishery management council. A fisheries management body established by the 1976 Magnuson‐Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act to manage fishery resources in designated regions of the United States. There are eight regional Councils, including the Pacific Council.

FRAM. The Fishery Regulation Assessment Model, a model used in setting salmon harvest levels.

Klamath Management Zone (KMZ). The ocean zone between Humbug Mountain, Oregon, and Horse Mountain, California, where management emphasis is on Klamath River fall Chinook.

Management objective. An annual goal for spawning escapement, or a harvest rate, that may differ from the conservation objective.

Maximum sustainable yield (MSY). An estimate of the largest average annual catch or yield that can be continuously taken over a long period from a stock under prevailing ecological and environmental conditions. In Council management of naturally-spawning salmon stocks, MSY is usually approached as the number of adult spawners associated with this goal (Smsy).

National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS). A division of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration. NMFS is responsible for conservation and management of offshore fisheries. The NMFS Regional Director is a voting member of the Council.

Optimum yield (OY). The amount of fish that will provide the greatest overall benefit to the Nation, particularly with respect to food production and recreational opportunities, and taking into account the protection of marine ecosystems. The OY is developed on the basis of the Maximum Sustained Yield from the fishery, taking into account relevant economic, social, and ecological factors.

Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission (PSMFC). The PSMFC is a non‐regulatory agency that serves Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington. PSMFC (headquartered in Portland) administers salmon disaster relief funds, provides a communication exchange between the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, and provides information in the form of data services for various fisheries.

Preseason reports. Prior to the development of management options for the salmon season, the Council’s Salmon Technical Team develops four preseason reports: Review of Ocean Salmon Fisheries tallies catch and escapement from the most recent fishing season. Preseason I, Stock Abundance Analysis for [Year] Ocean Salmon Fisheries provides forecasts for stock abundance for the coming season. Preseason II, Analysis of Proposed Regulatory Options for [Year] Ocean Salmon Fisheries analyzes proposed regulatory options for the year’s ocean salmon fisheries. Preseason III, Analysis of Council Adopted Management Measures for [Year] Ocean Salmon Fisheries analyzes management measures adopted by the Council.

Rebuilding. The process of rebuilding an overfished stock. For salmon, rebuilding usually takes the form of reduced harvest limits.

Sacramento River fall Chinook (SRFC). Sacramento River fall Chinook are historically a significant stock in West Coast commercial and recreational fisheries.

Salmon Advisory Subpanel (SAS). A Council advisory body made up of commercial fishery, recreational fishery, tribal, and conservation representatives. These advisors play a large role in developing the Council’s annual salmon management options in March and April. SAS meetings are open to the public.

Salmon Technical Team (STT). The Salmon Technical Team helps the Council by summarizing data from the previous season, estimating the number of salmon in the coming season, and analyzing the effects of the Council’s recommendations and amendments. The STT is made up of scientists drawn from state, Federal, and tribal fisheries management agencies, all of whom have technical expertise in salmon management. STT meetings are open to the public.

Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC). A Council advisory body made up of scientists with biological and economic expertise. The SSC gathers and analyzes statistical, biological, ecological, economic, social, and other scientific information that is relevant to the management of Council fisheries.

Southern Oregon/Northern California coho (SONCC). SONCC coho salmon are found from Cape Blanco, OR south to the Mattole River, just north of Punta Gorda, CA.  The Rogue and Klamath rivers support the two largest components of the stock complex.  SONCC coho are listed under the Endangered Species Act as threatened.  

Southern Resident killer whales (SRKW). A population of killer whales listed under the Endangered Species Act. The Council is required to consider the effects of Council-managed salmon fisheries on Southern Resident killer whales when setting salmon seasons.

Spawning. The production and depositing of eggs by salmon or other fish. For salmon, spawning occurs in rivers and tributaries meeting certain healthy environmental conditions.

Status determination criteria (SDC). Criteria (such as target and minimum escapement levels) which allow the Council to monitor a stock to determine annually, if possible, whether overfishing is occurring and whether the stock is overfished.

Tule Chinook. Columbia River fall Chinook exist in two basic forms: “brights” and “tules.” Brights enter the river first, mature slowly, and retain their silvery oceanic coloration well into the freshwater migration. Tules are later-timed, are sexually mature upon freshwater entry, and spawn in lower mainstem and tributary areas, primarily below the Dalles Dam.

Nominations to the 2021-2023 Permanent Advisory Committee for the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission

NOAA Fisheries is seeking nominations for the Permanent Advisory Committee established under the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention Implementation Act. The Committee, composed of individuals from groups concerned with the fisheries covered by the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Convention, will be given the opportunity to provide input to the United States Commissioners to the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission regarding the deliberations and decisions of the Commission. View the Federal Register notice or see attached for further information.

Each appointed member of the Permanent Advisory Committee will serve for a term of two years and is eligible for reappointment. This request for nominations is for the term to begin on August 3, 2021.

Nominations must be received no later than February 18, 2021. You may submit nominations via:

  • Email pir.wcpfc@noaa.gov and include “Permanent Advisory Committee Nominations” in the subject line. Comments and attachments limited to 5 megabytes.
  • Mail (Michael Tosatto, Regional Administrator, NMFS Pacific Islands Regional Office) or hand delivery to 1845 Wasp Boulevard, Bldg. 176, Honolulu, HI 96818.
  • Fax: (808) 725-5215

If you choose to mail or fax your application, please notify Emily Reynolds (emily.reynolds@noaa.gov) and copy to pir.wcpfc@noaa.gov

Pre-Assessment Workshop for Lingcod and Vermilion/Sunset Rockfishes to be held online March 29, 2021

This post was generated by and redirects to https://www.pcouncil.org/events/pre-assessment-workshop-for-lingcod-and-vermilion-sunset-rockfish-to-be-held-online-march-29-2021/.

Fact Sheet: Salmon

Tiny salmon and salmon eggs
Salmon fry. Photo: Vladimir Zykov/Shutterstock.com

Salmon species

The Council manages Chinook and coho salmon. In odd-numbered years, the Council may manage pink salmon near the Canadian border. Sockeye, chum, and steelhead are rarely caught in the Council’s ocean fisheries.

Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha) (“king” or “tyee”) are the largest and most highly prized of the Pacific salmon. Like all salmon, Chinook are anadromous, which means they hatch in freshwater streams and rivers, migrate to the ocean for feeding and growth, and return to their natal waters to spawn. Chinook salmon can live up to seven years. They return to their natal waters after 1-5 years in the ocean.

Chinook from Washington, Oregon, and California range widely throughout the Pacific Ocean and the Bering Sea, and as far south as the U.S. border with Mexico.

Some wild Chinook populations have disappeared from areas where they once flourished, and several “evolutionarily significant units” (distinct populations) have been listed as at risk for extinction under the Endangered Species Act.

Coho or “silver” salmon (Oncorhynchus kisutch) are found in streams and rivers throughout much of the Pacific Rim. Coho have a life history similar to Chinook. Coho in Council-managed waters typically spend only one year in the ocean. North of central British Columbia, they tend to spend two years in the ocean.

Coho generally use smaller streams and tributaries than Chinook. They are most abundant in coastal areas from central Oregon to southeast Alaska. Like Chinook, Some wild coho populations have disappeared from areas where they once flourished, and several populations are listed as at risk for extinction under the Endangered Species Act.


Because salmon migrate so far in the ocean, managing ocean salmon fisheries is extremely complex.

Salmon are affected by many factors in the ocean and on land, including ocean and climate conditions, dams, habitat loss, urbanization, agricultural and logging practices, water diversion, and predators (other fish, birds, marine mammals, and humans).

Several different regions and groups are involved in the salmon fishery:

Recreational  fisheries take place in the ocean, Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, coastal bays, and in freshwater (including Columbia River Buoy 10). The Council manages recreational catches in the ocean but works closely with states on management in other areas.

Commercial  fisheries include treaty tribal and non-tribal ocean troll and various treaty tribal and non-tribal net fisheries in Puget Sound, Washington coastal bays, and the lower and mid-Columbia River. The tribes manage tribal fisheries in coordination with the Council. The Council manages fisheries in Federal (ocean) waters, but works closely with states and tribes on fisheries in other areas.

Tribal Ceremonial and Subsistence fisheries occur in Puget Sound, Washington coastal rivers and bays, Columbia River and tributaries, and in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers. The tribes manage these fisheries in coordination with the Council.

Council process

The Council’s Salmon Fishery Management Plan guides the management of commercial and recreational salmon fisheries off the coasts of Washington, Oregon, and California. The Council works with treaty tribes and its member states (Washington, Idaho, Oregon and California) on salmon management issues.

Management tools such as season length, quotas, and bag limits vary depending on how many salmon are present. There are two central parts of the fishery management plan: conservation objectives, which are annual goals for the number of spawners of the major salmon stocks (“spawner escapement goals”), and allocation provisions of the harvest among different groups of fishers (commercial, recreational, tribal, various ports, ocean, and inland). The Council must also comply with laws such as the Endangered Species Act.

Every year the Council follows a preseason process to develop recommendations for management of the ocean fisheries (below).

DateSalmon management action
JanuarySalmon Technical Team and Council documents become available. Dates and locations of the two Council meetings, public hearings announced. Detailed schedule published. Salmon Technical Team meets to draft the review of ocean salmon fisheries for the previous year.
February – early MarchSalmon Technical Team meets in February to draft preseason report with stock abundance forecasts, harvest and escapement estimates. State and Tribal management meetings take place. Salmon Technical Team reports summarizing the previous salmon season (Review), and projections of expected salmon stock abundance for the coming season (Preseason I) are posted online.
First or second full week in MarchCouncil meeting. Typically, three alternatives are adopted for review at public hearings. These alternatives are initially developed by the Salmon Advisory
Subpanel, refined by the Salmon Technical Team, then considered along with public comment by the Council. Council also considers any emergency actions needed.
Week following March Council meetingPublic hearings announcement released. Preseason Report II released, outlining Council-adopted alternatives.
Prior to April Council meetingAgencies, tribes, and public meet to agree on allowable ocean and inside waters harvest levels north of Cape Falcon. The Council’s ocean fishery options are refined.
Last week of March and first week of AprilGeneral time frame for formal public hearings on the proposed salmon management alternatives.
First or second full week of AprilCouncil meeting. Final management measures recommended to National Marine Fisheries Service for adoption.
Second week of MayFinal notice of Commerce decision. Final management measures published in Federal Register.

How are salmon counted?

Correctly judging the size of salmon populations is a constant challenge. Salmon are affected by many natural and human-caused factors, so their numbers can vary widely. Estimating the effects of changes in ocean conditions, weather, and freshwater habitat on salmon is difficult. Most models rely on the age structure of a given brood (the various ages of fish that make up the population) in combination with knowledge about environmental conditions over time.

Various methods are used to estimate salmon abundance. For adult salmon, fish trapped in weirs or passing dams are counted as they migrate upstream. Biologists count salmon carcasses and redds (nests) while doing stream surveys. Creel surveys help estimate catch in sport fisheries, and commercially-caught salmon are counted using fish tickets from the sale of fish. As juvenile fish move downstream and migrate to the ocean, smolts are counted in rotary screw traps, snorkel surveys, and electrofishing (using electric current to temporarily stun young fish, which are then captured in a net).

Juvenile salmon may be marked with an internal tag, either a coded wire tag (CWT) or a passive integrated transponder (PIT) tag. CWTs are placed in the snout of the fish and are used mainly in hatchery fish. They are recovered from dead adult salmon. PIT tags are usually placed in the body cavity of the fish and are recovered from dead adults, but they can also be tracked electronically when a fish passes a receiver (for example at a bridge or dam) as it migrates. Both types of tags provide population and distribution data.

Advisory bodies

The Salmon Technical Team (STT) helps the Council by summarizing data from the previous season, estimating the number of salmon in the coming season, and analyzing the effects of the Council’s recommendations and amendments. The STT is made up of eight people drawn from state, Federal, and tribal fisheries management agencies, all of whom have technical expertise in salmon management. STT meetings, like all Council advisory body meetings, are open to the public.

The Salmon Advisory Subpanel is made up of 16 members who represent commercial, recreational, and tribal interests, as well as a conservation representative. These advisors play a large role in developing the Council’s annual salmon management options in March and April.

The Model Evaluation Workgroup (MEW) reviews and modifies models used to predict the effects of harvest on conservation objectives and allocation provisions. The MEW is made up of scientists from state, tribal, and Federal management agencies.

The Habitat Committee tracks habitat issues for the Council. Many (though not all) of these issues involve salmon habitat. For example, the Habitat Committee has developed several Council comment letters on Klamath and Columbia River dam and habitat issues.

How to get involved

There are a few ways to get involved in the Federal salmon management process. First, read up on how salmon are managed and become aware of current salmon fishery issues. Listen in on the salmon agenda items during the March and April Council meetings (see our website, www.pcouncil.org, for details). Provide public comment by using our e-Portal (see the Council website for link and comment deadlines). Attend a salmon season hearing in a coastal community (usually held in March), or sit in on a Salmon Advisory Subpanel, Salmon Technical Team, or Habitat Committee meeting. If you have time, volunteer to serve on an advisory body.

Challenges in salmon management

Besides counting the fish, challenges include coordinating with international, regional, and local agencies and groups; judging the effects of regional fisheries on salmon stocks; recovering salmon under the Endangered Species Act; dividing the harvest fairly; and restoring freshwater habitat.

Current hot topics relating to salmon include offshore aquaculture, offshore wind energy, salmon bycatch in other fisheries, the differences between wild and hatchery salmon, and the role salmon play as forage for predators such as killer whales.

Council Staff

Robin Ehlke is the Council staff officer responsible for salmon (robin.ehlke@noaa.gov, 503-820-2280 or toll free 866-806-7204)

Fact Sheet: Electronic monitoring

Somebody working on the deck of a fishing boat
Screen shot from an electronic monitoring video, courtesy of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute.

At-sea monitoring of all fishing trips (100% monitoring) is required as part of the Council’s groundfish trawl catch share program in order to account for discards. Currently, this monitoring is conducted by human observers.

From 2012 to 2018, the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) studied the use of electronic monitoring (EM) to examine its potential use in monitoring individual fishing quotas under the catch share program, particularly to document at-sea discard events. EM is the use of video technology to track catches and discards, it should not be confused with vessel monitoring systems, which track the location of fishing vessels.

The Council recommended that EM be an option to provide the industry with a potentially less expensive and more flexible alternative to human observers. Under the program, vessel owners could apply for an exemption to the observer requirement, and if approved by NMFS, could use EM to document allowable discards.

Current activities

In 2019 NMFS published regulations to implement the electronic monitoring program for the whiting and fixed gear fisheries operating in the trawl catch share program. Full implementation of the program has been delayed until January 1, 2022. In early 2021, NMFS expects to publish a proposed rule to implement the bottom trawl and nonwhiting midwater trawl fisheries portion of the electronic monitoring regulations.  The Council will continue to work with NMFS and the industry to examine ways to increase efficiencies and lower industry costs while maintaining the integrity and accountability of the catch share program.


The trawl catch share program, which began in 2011, requires 100% monitoring of all trips. Before the program was put in place, 20% of trips were monitored with observers through the NMFS West Coast Groundfish Observer Program; the observers were paid by the Federal government. The Council considered electronic monitoring while planning the catch share program, but opted to continue using observers and increase the observation level to 100%. Under the program, vessel owners must pay private companies to observe all trips. When the catch share program was put in place, NMFS agreed to pay for a portion of the observer costs to help the fleet through the adjustment period. In September 2015, the industry was required to pay the full cost. 

The requirement to pay for observers is one of the most expensive compliance costs associated with participation in the catch share program. All vessels are billed for observers on a per-day basis, so observer costs are the same for both small and large vessels. Because vessels are billed per day both for at-sea and for standby time during a trip, vessels may incur higher costs for standing down due to bad weather; therefore, the observer fee system can put pressure on vessels to fish in unsafe conditions.

Although information collected by observers for catch share monitoring (mainly accounting for discarded fish) could be collected through electronic monitoring, cameras cannot completely fulfill all scientific monitoring needs. Therefore, observers will still be necessary to collect biological samples to support stock assessments and other important fishery-dependent information, such as interactions with protected species.

Fact Sheet: How to get involved

Why get involved?

Many different types of people are concerned about fisheries, including commercial fishermen, fishing families, recreational fishers, processors and suppliers, environmentalists, tribal members, chefs, diners, scientists, the tourism industry, and local communities. Whatever their background or motivations, these groups share the common desire to ensure the health of fish populations and the marine ecosystems they depend on.

If you are a member of the commercial fishing community or if your business serves recreational anglers, the best reason to get involved is because this is the process that controls your livelihood. You may not have control over the weather, ocean conditions, or market prices, but if you get involved in the Council process you can have some input into the decisions that affect your business.

Getting involved means commitment and hard work. It may mean reading documents, talking to unfamiliar people, attending meetings, speaking in public, writing letters or emails, joining or forming an association, or joining an advisory subpanel.

Ten ways to get involved:

Many members of the fishing community and the public don’t have the time or resources to attend Council meetings. Luckily, there are ways to get involved in management without having to leave the comfort of your home or vessel.


The first step to getting involved in the Council process is to learn about it. Learn how the Council system operates; learn about the context of the problem you are interested in. Learn how Council members see things, and why. Learn what acronyms and terms  like “CPUE” and “optimum yield” mean (an acronym and definition list is available on the Council website, and as an information sheet). That way you will be more comfortable providing input, and your input will be more valuable.

Some ways to learn:

Join a group

Join a group that represents your interests. This will give you a greater voice, more motivation, and a larger pool of knowledge to draw from. There are groups organized around environmental issues, fishing gear types, fisheries, communities, and other interests. There are also groups that cut across interests and gear types. If you can’t find a group, form your own.

Make informed comments

Your comments will be most effective if they show that you know about the underlying laws and concepts that the Council must follow in managing fisheries. Try to frame your comments and objections in these terms. Whether writing or testifying, make sure that your comments are relevant to whatever the Council is discussing at the moment. Know what stage of the process the Council is in. For example, are there important deadlines approaching? What political pressures are influencing this decision? (See “Public Comment and the e-Portal” and “Council Testimony” for more information on testifying).

Get to know someone

Getting to know someone is one of the best ways to make sure your voice is heard. Get to know your Council representative, other Council members, Committee members, and staff. If possible, get to know your fish and wildlife department’s local port biologists and discuss issues with them. (See the roster on the Council website for lists of Council members and advisory members).

Talk informally

One of the best ways to interact with the Council is simply to call up a Council member or staff member. This provides a more personal way to discuss issues that concern or interest you. When calling, explain who you are, what your question or problem is, and ask for help in understanding what’s going on. Ask for a list of the committees and key Council members responsible for your fishery, and ask whom you should call to get more background or advice. You can also talk at meetings and hearings, in the halls during meetings, or at the Council office. Be sure to attend informal events associated with Council meetings. You may also want to talk with state agency staff and your Federal and state representatives.

Attend a meeting

All regular Council meetings and advisory meetings are open to the public. Advisory body and technical committee (or management team) meetings are generally more informal than a full Council meeting, and may be a better opportunity to express your opinions and ideas.

Council meetings are generally held in Portland/Vancouver,Seattle/Tacoma, northern California, Boise, Spokane, Orange County, or San Diego, because these larger cities have airports and plenty of hotel and meeting space.

Because Council meetings are not convenient for many who live in coastal areas, state agencies and other entities sometimes hold public hearings, meetings, and workshops in local areas to inform the public and obtain input on proposed fishing regulations. Local residents may contact the head of their state fish and wildlife department to request that a meeting be held in their community. Summaries of the comments made at Council‐sponsored hearings are provided to Council members.

Dates and locations of upcoming meetings are available on the Council website.


Members of the commercial and recreational fishery, the environmental community, and the public are encouraged to testify at Council meetings and hearings. This involves speaking in a formal public forum.

At Council meetings, the Council members and staff generally sit in a “U” formation and everyone else sits in chairs at one end of the room. You will have to walk up to a microphone to make your comments. Because of time constraints, public comment is limited to five minutes for individuals and ten minutes for representatives of groups.

If comments are supplied to the Council by the briefing book deadline before the meeting date, they are included in the packet of information (briefing book) that is posted online approximately two weeks before the Council meeting.

It is best to be well-prepared and as calm as possible when providing testimony. Read up on Council decisions related to your topic of interest and make sure that your comments are organized and relevant. 


The Council reads and considers all comments that arrive before the public comment deadline. See our fact sheet on public comment for more information.

Since NMFS reviews all Council decisions, it is also effective to write or call the West Coast Region of NMFS.


Interested citizens may serve on an advisory body. If you are interested in serving, talk to the Executive Director, Deputy Director, or the key staff person for the fishery.

Get involved in research efforts

Occasionally, calls go out for vessel owners to charter their vessels for research efforts. While this is not a direct way to get involved in the Council process, it does help create connections with scientists and managers, and it allows vessel owners and scientists to learn more about each others’ methods. It can also provide some extra income. Unfortunately many of these opportunities are on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Will It really make a difference?

Your influence on Council decisions is related to the amount of energy you put into being involved. Involvement can range from signing an online petition, to writing an email or letter, to serving on an advisory subpanel or team. No matter what level of involvement you choose, your views will have more weight and influence if you learn about the context of the decisions being made, the timeline for the decision-making process, and the best ways to communicate with Council members and advisory body members.

As a member of a fisheries association said, “If you want to get involved in fisheries management, you should be willing to go to meetings and become an active participant, be willing to listen to others’ views, and communicate clearly your own ideas.” 

Who to contact

The Council rosters provide contact information for all members of the Council’s advisory subpanels (which include industry representatives), management teams (which are generally made up of scientists), the Council staff, and Council members. All Council staff can be contacted at 866‐806‐7204 (toll free) or 503‐820‐2280.

IPHC now accepting applications for Area 2A Halibut licenses (2021)

The International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) is now accepting applications for Area 2A Halibut licenses (2021). Please see the IPHC website for further information. You may contact the IPHC Secretariat at: secretariat@iphc.int, should you have any questions or require assistance.

Fact Sheet: Advisory bodies

The Pacific Fishery Management Council’s advisory bodies (including technical and management teams, advisory subpanels, committees, and work 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

All scientific information used by the Council to make decisions must go through the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), a group of scientists from state and Federal agencies, academic institutions, and other sources. Among other things, the SSC reviews fishery management plans (FMPs), plan amendments, and other documents; and helps the Council evaluate scientific information. The SSC has subcommittees that focus on salmon, groundfish, highly migratory species, coastal pelagic species, ecosystem management, and economics.

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.

The Council has five advisory subpanels—one for each management plan:

Groundfish Advisory Subpanel (GAP). This panel includes three fixed gear (at-large) commercial fishers, one conservation representative, two processors, one at-sea processor, three sport anglers, two open access fishers, one bottom trawler, one midwater trawler, two
at-large trawlers, one tribal representative, and four charter boat operators (one each for Oregon, Washington, northern California, and 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 north, one south of Point Conception); two commercial at-large members; two processors (one northern, one south of Cape Mendocino); one conservation representative; one general at-large member; 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), five sport fishers (one each from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, and two from California), one processor, and one conservation representative.

Ecosystem Advisory Subpanel (EAS). This subpanel consists of three representatives each from California, Oregon, and Washington, and one tribal representative.

Enforcement Consultants

Enforcement Consultants are representatives from state police agencies, state fish and wildlife agencies, NMFS Office of Law Enforcement divisions, 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 six 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 members from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission, National Marine Sanctuary, NMFS region, NMFS science center, conservation, states, tribes, and fishing industry, as well as at-large members.

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 made up of Council members, plus seven non-voting members who represent 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, and tribal biologists and economists.

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, Highly Migratory Species Management Team, Salmon Model Evaluation Workgroup, and Groundfish Endangered Species Workgroup.

Plan Development Teams focus on the development of fishery management plans. Currently there are no Plan Development Teams in operation.

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 and grant proposals, and the Legislative Committee monitors Federal legislation on Council operations and West Coast fisheries and develops a position and course of action for Council consideration.

Ad hoc committees

Ad-hoc committees are created to serve special needs—for example the Trawl Catch Share Community Advisory Board, Groundfish Cost Recovery Committee, Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Policy Advisory Committee, and Groundfish Electronic Monitoring Technical Advisory Committee.

For more information on the membership of the Council’s advisory bodies, contact the Council at the phone number on the first page of this information sheet or see the Council website at www.pcouncil.org.

Appointments and reviews

The Council continuously considers appointments to fill vacancies and adjust to personnel changes. All advisory Subpanel positions, the SSC at-large positions, and the HC tribal, industry, conservation, and at-large positions are limited to three-year terms.  Every third year, the Council reviews the composition and membership of all term-limited Advisory Body positions and appoints members for the subsequent three-year term.