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NOAA Names Jennifer Quan to Lead Fisheries’ West Coast Region

April 04, 2023

Agency expert brings more than 27 years of experience working on Pacific Northwest natural resource conservation issues.

Close up headshot of Jennifer Quan Jennifer Quan is the new Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region. Credit: Molly Quan

NOAA Fisheries is pleased to announce Ms. Jennifer Quan as the new Regional Administrator for NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region. She will assume her new duties on April 23, 2023. Ms. Quan is currently an advisor to Chair Senator Maria Cantwell and other members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. She began her NOAA career as a supervisory fish biologist in the West Coast Region leading the South Puget Sound Branch of the Oregon/Washington Coastal Office. She succeeds Barry Thom, who left the agency in 2020 to lead the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission. She also follows Acting Regional Administrator Dr. Scott Rumsey, who will resume his role as Deputy Regional Administrator.

“I feel fortunate and excited to have Jennifer join the NOAA Fisheries leadership team at this time,'' said NOAA Fisheries’ Assistant Administrator Janet Coit. “She is a capable, experienced leader who has demonstrated throughout her career that she understands fisheries and complex environmental issues and knows how to work with others to address the many natural resource challenges on the West Coast.”

In her new role, Ms. Quan will direct NOAA Fisheries’ science-based stewardship of marine species and habitat within the coasts and watersheds of Washington, Oregon, California, and Idaho. The region is one of the largest in the agency, covering 317,690 square miles of the eastern Pacific Ocean and more than 7,000 miles of tidal coastline. It also includes the ecological functions within the states’ vast rivers and estuaries.

As the Regional Administrator, Ms. Quan will lead more than 300 dedicated employees working to build sustainable fisheries, recover endangered and threatened species, maintain healthy ecosystems, and protect human health. The region works closely with the Pacific Fishery Management Council and the Pacific States Commission as well as state and federal partners, tribes, the fishing and seafood industries, and other stakeholders. They manage and conserve federal commercial and recreational fisheries, marine mammals, endangered and threatened species, habitat, and much more. Later this spring, Ms. Quan will be meeting with a wide variety of partners and stakeholders across the region to listen and get feedback on shared priorities. Ms. Quan has extensive experience in natural resource management on the U.S. West Coast and benefits from diverse perspectives gained during her time with state and federal governments. Her career spans a broad spectrum of West Coast fisheries issues including:

  • Dolphin conservation in the eastern Tropical Pacific
  • Research on blue and humpback whales in California
  • Study of tribal harvest on gray whales
  • Pacific fisheries management
  • Salmon recovery
  • Endangered Species Act regulations

With her many years of natural resource management experience in the Pacific Northwest and the relationships she’s built during the course of her career, I am confident that Jennifer Quan will step into the West Coast Regional Administrator role with ease,” said NOAA Fisheries’ Deputy Assistant Administrator for Regulatory Programs Sam Rauch.

For the last 2 years, Ms. Quan worked as an advisor to the Chair, Senator Maria Cantwell on the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. There she worked with the Chair to develop and pass legislation on NOAA’s ocean, climate, weather and atmospheric research and services. Notably, she worked on NOAA’s climate resilience provisions in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act and Inflation Reduction Act. Additionally, during her tenure, she assisted in leading passage of 13 bills into law including the historic reauthorization of the Coral Reef Conservation Act.

Prior to working for the U.S. Senate, she worked for the NOAA Fisheries West Coast Region. She supervised the south Puget Sound Branch of the Oregon/Washington Coastal Office, with significant achievements in improving branch morale and innovating nearshore Endangered Species Act consultations. Before coming to NOAA, she spent 10 years at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife. As Lands Division Manager she acquired more than 114,000 acres of habitat for fish and wildlife protection and led the passage of the state “Discover Pass” legislation. It created an access pass to state recreation lands that created revenue of more than $25 million a year and secured funding for maintenance of conservation and recreation lands.

Ms. Quan values continuous improvement and collaborative solutions born from hard work and thrives working in the interface of science and policy. Born and raised in the Pacific Northwest, she is steeped in the world of salmon and other fish. She is adept at navigating the challenges that come with balancing their accompanying and inseparable intrinsic, tribal, recreational, and commercial values. She considers herself a modern conservationist and manager and believes that strategic innovations will be necessary to solve current day and future sustainability challenges.

Ms. Quan is a fellow of the National Conservation Leadership Institute. She holds a Master’s degree in Marine Affairs from the University of Washington and Bachelors of Science from Evergreen State College.

Ms. Quan will be splitting her time among the West Coast Region offices, including Seattle, Portland, Sacramento, and Long Beach. She is a wife and mother of three who considers her family her anchor and greatest accomplishment. In her spare time, you may find her playing “zen” golf, trying out a new recipe, throwing a ball for her dog, and skiing if the snow is good.  

Last updated by Office of Communications on April 05, 2023