Public Comment Tips

Tips for Providing Effective Public Comment 

Public comment is critically important for stakeholders to provide input on proposed changes to fishing regulations, whether that be at DMR, at the New England Fishery Management Council, or at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. 

To facilitate and encourage effective public comment, DMR has put together a few tips for providing public comment. While the examples use Menhaden Draft Addendum I at the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, many of these tips are transferable to other public comment scenarios in fisheries management. 

  • Always state your name, where you are from, and how you are connected to the topic (e.g. do you fish for menhaden, do you use menhaden for bait, do you rely on a species which eats menhaden?)
  • Be specific in which management option you prefer. For example, instead of saying “I support options which increase the number of menhaden I can land” it is more effective to say “I support Option X in Section X.X”. This specificity ensures that your public comment is included in the tally used to summarize public comments from the entire Atlantic coast. 
  • Include in your comment, how an option might impact you. For example, what would happen to your business if purse seines where not included in the small-scale fishery provision? What would happen to your business or wharf if Maine’s menhaden quota increased?
  • Sometimes it can be easier for stakeholders to identify options that don’t work for them. If a stakeholder does not support any of the alternatives under an issue, it is often most effective for a stakeholder to state their support for the status quo option and then explain why they don’t support the alternatives under consideration. Another scenario may be that a stakeholder can support some alternatives equally but be against one specific alternative. In this case, a stakeholder should state that they support Options X and Z but don’t support Option Y, and then provide their rational. 

For More Information: