West Coast
Lisa Wooninck / Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

CA - Lisa Wooninck named superintendent of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

MONTEREY — NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries on Wednesday announced the appointment of Lisa Wooninck as superintendent of Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, according to a news release from the sanctuary.

Wooninck, 60, has been with NOAA for 20 years, starting as a research fishery biologist at NOAA Fisheries headquarters and the Santa Cruz lab, according to her bio. Her most recent position was policy coordinator for the West Coast Region for NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries.

Wooninck earned her doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of California Santa Barbara. Her interest in policy and marine resource management stems from her time as a 2000 Knauss Sea Grant Fellow in the office of former Rep. Sam Farr’s Washington, D.C., office.

Celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2022, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary is a federally marine protected area offshore of California’s central coast. Stretching from Marin County to Cambria, the sanctuary encompasses a shoreline length of 276 miles and 6,094 square miles of ocean, extending an average distance of 30 miles from shore. At its deepest point, Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary reaches 12,743 feet. It is one of our nation’s largest national marine sanctuaries, and is larger than Yellowstone National Park.

The sanctuary is part of America’s National Marine Sanctuary System, a network of underwater parks encompassing more than 620,000 square miles of marine and Great Lakes waters. The network includes a system of 15 national marine sanctuaries and Papahānaumokuākea and Rose Atoll marine national monuments. This year, the National Marine Sanctuary System is celebrating its 50-year anniversary.

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Lisa Wooninck, PhD.

Superintendent
(831) 647-4201
lisa.wooninck@noaa.gov

Lisa Wooninck began her 20 year NOAA career as a research fishery biologist at NOAA Fisheries headquarters and the Santa Cruz lab. She joined Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary as a policy analyst, and then the West Coast Regional team in 2010 as the policy coordinator for the five sanctuaries on the west coast. Lisa has a Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of California Santa Barbara. Her interest in policy and marine resource management stems from her time as a 2000 Knauss Sea Grant Fellow in Congressman Farr’s DC office.

Lisa has experience in policy and planning, and coordinating with conservation and user groups, and state and federal partners to develop integrated ecosystem-based management systems and ecologically and economically sustainable practices. She has also led an ONMS team to highlight to tourism operators and the public the world class recreational activities, such as whale watching and sport fishing, offered by thriving ecosystems of national marine sanctuaries.

Lisa is guided by ‘malama’, a Hawaiian concept that expresses care, respect and stewardship for the environment and humans, and our obligation to care for both. Dovetailing perfectly into 'malama' is her strong belief in team work, which she applies to working with the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary team, their partners and friends.

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