Written public comment can be submitted to the Council through its e-Portal when comment periods are open before Council meetings. A list of Council meetings will appear on the ePortal page; when the public comment period is open, the first Council meeting on the list will show its comment status as “open.”
Next, you will see a list of agenda items. Pick which agenda item you wish to comment on. You may comment on more than one agenda item, but users are limited to one comment per agenda item, per comment window.
Finally, you will see a form for submitting the public comment. You can write your comment into the comment field, or attach a PDF.
We prefer that you submit comments through the ePortal. However, if you cannot do so, comments can be mailed or faxed to the Council office, in which case Council staff will manually add them to the ePortal.
Public comment during Council meetings
Approximately five days in advance of a Council meeting, the ePortal will close for written comment submission. Once the council meeting begins, our oral comment signup period starts. During this time you may sign up to give oral testimony on an agenda item during its public comment period.
To do this, visit the ePortal, and below each agenda item there will be a “sign up for oral comment” link. Note: sign ups for oral testimony are allowed up until the start of the public comment period for each agenda item. The sign up link will turn red and no further sign ups are allowed once the public comment period starts, or an agenda item has been completed.
After selecting the agenda item you wish to comment on, you will be prompted to enter information so we may call upon you. This will include your full name, organization you are representing (if applicable), and email address and phone number. The email address and phone number are so we may reach you if we experience technical difficulties.
Once you submit the form, you can see who else has signed up and what order you are in (please note the order taken may change at the discretion of the chair). The second column shows who has testified, who is scheduled to testify, who did not testify, and, most importantly, who is up next.
Effective public comment
It is worth learning how to write effective public comment. The hypothetical example below provides some tips. Not all of the elements here are required (the sample is more complex than most letters), but you can use these ideas to design your comments to the Council. Also, please see our fact sheet on testifying to the Council.
|August 11, 2022|
|Mr. Phil Anderson|
Pacific Fishery Management Council
7700 NE Ambassador Place, Suite 101
Portland, Oregon 97220-1384
Dear Chair Anderson:
|Address the letter to the right person; use a respectful greeting.|
|I am writing on behalf of the Bay Area Giant Squid Supporters (BAGSS), a nonprofit organization with 8000 members, to express our concern that giant squid (Architeuthis dux) are not included in the Pacific Fishery Management Council’s proposed Sea Creature Fishery Management Plan (SCFMP).||If you represent an organization, be sure to say how many members it has. Refer to the fishery management plan or rule that you are commenting on.|
|We urge the Council to include giant squid in the SCFMP.||State your desire clearly. Make sure that you are asking for something that falls within the Council’s mandate.|
|My father was a giant squid fisherman, and from an early age I helped him on his boat. Later, as a founder of BAGSS, I made the study of giant squid my life’s work. In 2017 I conducted a comprehensive assessment of giant squid in northern California for the National Giant Squid Association (Lattimer 2017).||Give some background about your expertise and experience. Include references if available.|
|The assessment clearly showed that these mysterious and beautiful creatures play an important role in California’s coastal ecosystem, particularly in regard to their symbiotic relationship with yelloweye rockfish.||Connect the issue to other important issues facing the Council.|
|A summary of the assessment’s findings is attached.||Provide supplemental information if it is relevant, but keep it brief.|
|In May 2017, I sent a letter to the National Marine Fisheries Service on behalf of BAGSS expressing our concern that NMFS was ignoring giant squid.||Provide a short history of your involvement with this issue.|
|The letter echoed many of the concerns presented in the lawsuit filed by the Squid Supporters of Hawaii (SQUISH). The decision in the SQUISH lawsuit is scheduled for November 2020 and is likely to bring giant squid to the foreground of fisheries management issues.||Demonstrate knowledge of other factors that are influencing the issue.|
|National Standard 2 of the Magnuson-Stevens Act states that “(2) Conservation and management measures shall be based upon the best scientific information available.” We at BAGSS strongly believe that the 2017 assessment of giant squid represents the best scientific information available on these animals, and should be considered in the SCFMP.||If possible, connect your concern to the National Standards of the Magnuson-Stevens Act.|
|In closing, BAGSS would like to respectfully recommend that the Council immediately create a committee to consider including giant squid in the FMP. I would be happy to serve upon such a committee and make my knowledge of giant squid available to the Council.||Re-state your argument at the end with more detail, if desired. Suggest a constructive step for the Council to take. Volunteer your services, if possible and relevant.|
|We appreciate the opportunity to comment. If you have any questions about this important matter, please contact me at (503) 820-2280.||Close respectfully. Provide a way for the Council to get more information if they wish.|
2243 Ink Avenue
Calamari, CA 89431
|Sign your name and give your address.|
2017. Lattimer, Julio. A Comprehensive Assessment of Architeuthis dux. Calamari, CA: National Giant Squid Association.
|Include complete references if you referred to them in the letter.|
|Attachment: Assessment highlights (2 pp.)||Don’t forget the attachment.|