Margaret Spring, Vice President of Conservation & Science and Chief Conservation Officer

​Areas of expertise: Science & Conservation, Ocean Policy, Seafood Watch

Margaret Spring directs the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s conservation and science efforts, which include the aquarium’s ocean policy initiatives, its respected Seafood Watch program, as well as conservation research programs involving sea otters, great white sharks, Pacific bluefin tuna and other species. She serves on the National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board, the California Ocean Science Trust Board of Trustees, the Monterey Bay Fisheries Trust Board of Trustees, the Environmental Law Institute Board of Directors, and the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Position Statement Task Force.

Before joining the Monterey Bay Aquarium in 2013, Margaret served at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration from 2009 to 2013, first as Chief of Staff and then as Principal Deputy Under Secretary for Oceans and Atmosphere. Spring earlier directed the coastal and marine program for The Nature Conservancy’s California chapter, and was Senior Counsel, then General Counsel, to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, where she played an important role advising members of Congress on ocean issues and developing key ocean legislation.

As Principal Deputy Under Secretary at NOAA, she worked across the agency to develop and drive strategic priorities for NOAA with a particular focus on external constituents, interagency initiatives and administration priorities. She worked with the NOAA Administrator, senior leadership and the Department of Commerce to help integrate policy and budget priorities and align programs in support of the NOAA priorities and budget.

At The Nature Conservancy, she managed and directed one of the largest U.S. marine programs at the Conservancy, focusing on scalable, innovative projects designed to address the major threats to coastal and marine biodiversity and related ecosystems.

In her staff roles with the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation, her responsibilities included: fisheries conservation and management; coastal zone management; marine sanctuaries; coastal and atmospheric science; climate change; weather; satellite systems; mapping, and other federal ocean and atmospheric programs.

Spring’s legislative work included enactment of the Oceans Act of 2000; the Oceans and Human Health Act; the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Reauthorization Act of 2006; the Marine Debris Research, Prevention, and Reduction Act; and the Tsunami Warning and Education Act.

From 1992-1999, she was an environmental attorney at Sidley & Austin in Washington, D.C.

She is a graduate of Duke University Law School and Dartmouth College.

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