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Meet Sarah Bland, Deputy Regional Administrator for the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office

March 13, 2023

Sarah is the Deputy Regional Administrator for the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office, where she oversees internal operations and provides guidance for sustainable fisheries, protected resources, and habitat conservation programs.

A white woman wearing a green hat and blue shirt sits on a boat next to a boy. She is holding a fish they caught. Sarah and her son, Logan, with his first catch of the day! Courtesy: Sarah Bland.

What office or team do you work for and what is your key responsibility?  

I am the Deputy Regional Administrator for the Greater Atlantic Regional Fisheries Office. As Deputy Regional Administrator, I oversee internal operations, including personnel and human capital management and organizational excellence. I also provide programmatic guidance for sustainable fisheries, protected resources, habitat conservation, and administrative activities.

Where did you grow up? Is there anything about your childhood or where you grew up that influenced your career path?

A white woman with brown hair stands on a fishing vessel wearing a coat and rubber boots.
Sarah onboard a local fishing vessel. Courtesy: Sarah Bland.

I grew up in Virginia and was not particularly close to the ocean. My love and passion for the ocean and seafood grew from my family, and summer vacations to Florida, Maine, and Alaska with my grandparents.  My grandfather’s clambakes really helped too! I fell in love with manatees during a trip to Florida when I was in fourth grade and decided I wanted to be a marine biologist. From there, my curiosity and passion for the ocean and the marine environment began, and ultimately led me to my career in sustainable fisheries and to NOAA.

What is your educational background?  

I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Biology at Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven, Connecticut. I picked up seasonal jobs after I graduated to get field experience and spend time on the water and explore possible career paths. This led me to completing my Master of Arts in Marine Affairs from the University of Rhode Island. My thesis evaluated the use of cooperative research results in fisheries management.

What do you like to do outside of work?

A white woman in a green hat and blue tank top stands in front of a rocky coastline.
Sarah enjoying time at the beach and near the ocean while on vacation. Courtesy: Sarah Bland.

Outside of work, I am usually pursuing other passions, including fitness, nutrition, gardening, spending time at the beach, and being on the water! I am a hockey mom, so my favorite hobby is cheering on my son inside those chilly rinks.

Is there a book, quote, or person that influenced you to be the person that you are today? 

My mom.  My mom wanted to be an oceanographer, which at the time was nearly an all-male field. There were few schools that offered these fields of study (one didn’t accept women), and it wasn’t financially or geographically accessible for my mom. She ended up pursuing a degree in mathematics and ultimately became a statistician. I didn’t get her passion for math (sorry, Mom!), but she did instill in me a curiosity for learning, a desire to help others, a strong work ethic, and an admiration for nature and the ocean.

What does Women's History Month mean to you?

To me, Women’s History Month is an opportunity to reflect on the great strides we have made and celebrate the achievements and contributions of all of the women that pushed us forward. It is a month to celebrate our collective strength, resilience, and courage.  Women’s History Month is also an opportunity to look forward at the work still to be done. Although we increasingly see women in leadership and other roles and fields where there haven’t traditionally been, there are still societal norms and barriers that perpetuate inequities and prevent access and opportunity.  


Last updated by Office of Communications on March 16, 2023

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