The intent of the Council system is to maximize public participation in the management of a public resource. Although the process may appear formal and complicated, there are many ways to become familiar with it and engage on issues that are important to you.

No matter what your level of involvement, your views can be communicated most effectively if you become familiar with the context in which Council decisions are made, track the timelines so you know when critical decisions are scheduled, and become familiar with the available tools to communicate your views to the Council and its Committees.

Where Do I Begin?

If you have never been to one, attending a Council meeting may be an instructive way to learn about the Council process, and browsing the NEFMC's website beforehand could help you make the most of your time. Also keep in mind that Council meetings are open, and public testimony, both written and oral, is taken on each agenda item at some point during the discussion. Public comments are also taken at Advisory Panel and Scientific and Statistical Committee meetings.

Here are a few suggestions to get started:

  • Look for “Fishery Management Plans” or “Committees” on the homepage to find the issues you would like to learn more about or follow as the Council considers them over time. A review of the most recent committee meeting summaries can bring you up to date.
  • Read the Council's press releases for a quick overview of the major issues voted on or discussed at each Council meeting.
  • Subscribe to receive email updates about upcoming committee, advisory panel, and plan development team meetings.
  • Learn more about the Council members living in your area and how to contact them. See who serves on the Council's Advisory Panels and attend their meetings. They play an important role in making recommendations to the Oversight Committees.
  • See what topics are being discussed at NEMFC meetings and browse through the Council meeting agenda and associated materials that are posted on the Council Meetings page.
  • Listen to the Council meetings live via our webinars. You can sign up and listen via your computer or telephone, hear the discussions and view the same presentations as the participants in the meeting room. Our apologies that we cannot accommodate two-way conversations at this time.

Learn more about the Council process in this booklet, “Get Involved in Federal Fisheries Management – Greater Atlantic Region.”