Advisory Panels

SAFMC Advisory Panels – How to Get Involved 


Mimi Stafford - Spiny Lobster AP (credit Washington Post/Whitney Shefte)

What is the role of an advisory panel member?

Advisory panel members play an important role in the federal fishery management process by providing information and recommendations at the grassroots level.  Members of each of the Council’s eleven advisory panels advise the Council about trends in fisheries, environmental concerns relating to fishery ecosystems, enforcement issues and management impacts on fishermen and fishing communities.

Beginning in 2017, the Council’s advisory panels also began providing Fishery Performance Reports. These reports provide the Council and its Scientific and Statistical Committee with updated descriptions of the factors that influence fishing effort and catch within each of the Council’s fisheries. The Fishery Performance Reports are included in the Council Meeting briefing book materials.

Who can serve and how do I apply?

Advisory panel members include recreational and commercial fishermen, industry representatives, seafood dealers, representatives from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and other interested members of the public.

The Council solicits applicants for specific seats on various advisory panels as they become available. The open seats are advertised through news releases. Applications may also be submitted at any time.


NOTE! Application forms for specific advisory panels are available by clicking the links below.

Mackerel Cobia Advisory Panel and Cobia Subpanel

How are advisory panel members appointed and what are the terms of service?

The Council considers applications for open seats on its advisory panels during regularly scheduled Council meetings , usually during the Council’s June and December meetings.  Applications are reviewed by the Council during closed session (all application information is considered confidential). Appointments are then made during an open session. Applicants are contacted regarding their status. Active applications are kept on file for two years.

Ira Laks, Relaks Fishing- Mackerel Cobia AP


Once appointed, advisory panel members serve voluntarily for 3-year terms. Advisory panels generally meet no more than once or twice each year for 1-2 day meetings.  If an advisory panel does not meet within the calendar year, that period does not count against the term.  At the end of the 3-year terms, the AP member’s seat is open to qualified applicants and the current member is also eligible for reappointment.  Most members are limited to serving 3 consecutive terms.

Get Involved – Talk with Advisory Panel Members or Apply

Fishermen and members of the public are encouraged to contact the advisory panel representatives in your area, sector, and fishery with any concerns or suggestions you may have.  Open seats on advisory panels are advertised periodically through the Council office, typically in the spring and fall each year.  You may submit an application at any time, using the online forms available above.

Fishery Performance Reports

In 2017, Council staff began to develop Fishery Performance Reports (like those seen at the Mid-Atlantic Council) using the information and guidance provided by Advisory Panel Members and their discussions of species specific issues. Advisory Panels will focus on a given species for each report, providing insights into regional differences, catch, and regulatory concerns. These reports will serve as a living record of what fishermen are experiencing on the water. To see the Fishery Performance Reports, click here!


Marine Resources Education Program - Southeast

Learn More About Navigating the Science and Management Process - Marine Resource Education Program (MREP) Southeast will show you how!  Check out the program and apply at:


Contact Kim Iverson, Public Information Officer at or call the Council office at 843/571-4366 or direct line at 843/302-8440.

Current Advisory Panel Membership

Technical Review Panels