The North Pacific Council has a very important role in the management of marine resources off Alaska. The Council prepares and amends fishery management plans and regulations for the fisheries occurring in federal waters (3-200 nm from shore). The Council also works very closely with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game and the Alaska Board of Fisheries to coordinate management programs in federal and state waters (0-3 nm from shore). Many fishery resources are harvested in waters under both state and federal jurisdiction. As such, the Council and State work together to address habitat concerns, catch limits, allocation issues, and other management details through coordination meetings and delegation of management oversight to one agency or the other.
When reviewing potential rule changes, the Council draws upon the services of knowledgeable people from state and federal agencies, universities, and the public, who serve on panels and committees. Advisory bodies include an Advisory Panel (AP), the Scientific and Statistical Committee (SSC), Plan Teams, and other committees. The Council will hear reports from the advisory bodies, and hear in-person public testimony, at the Council meetings.
The Council meets five times each year, usually in February, April, June, October, and December, with three of the meetings held in Anchorage, one in a fishing community in Alaska and one either in Portland or Seattle. Most Council meetings take seven days, with the AP and SSC usually following the same agenda and meeting two days earlier. All meetings are open to the public, except for an occasional short, closed session in which the Council deals with personnel, administrative, or litigation issues. Minutes are taken for each Council meeting and are available to the public along with a comprehensive newsletter that outlines important background and details, and well as the outcome of that agenda item.