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Policy Staff
Jennifer Lukens
Director, Office of Policy - View Bio
Jessica Kondel
Policy Analysis - View Bio
Heidi Lovett
Policy Analysis - View Bio
Heather Sagar
Policy Analysis - View Bio
Candace Nachman
Policy Analysis
Helen Chabot
Policy Analysis
Danielle Rioux
Policy Analysis
Jeanette Davis
Policy Analysis
Adele Irwin
Policy Analysis
Steve Leathery
NEPA Supervisor
Patience Whitten
NEPA Specialist
Cristi Reid
NEPA Specialist
Susan Staehle
NEPA Specialist
Kristen R. Laursen
Gulf of Mexico, Regional Collaboration
Nicole Bartlett
North Atlantic, Regional Collaboration


The Office of Policy develops and executes integrated strategies for NOAA Fisheries’ long-range planning, policy development, coordination, and implementation. The Office is responsible for effective NOAA and external relations on issues of policy development, communications, consistency, and tracks and helps resolve policy issues affecting NOAA Fisheries and its programs. In support of this responsibility, the Office of Policy provides secretariat support for the NOAA Fisheries Leadership Council and NOAA’s Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC).

The Office of Policy reports to the Directorate and serves the Assistant Administrator for NOAA Fisheries and the three Deputy Assistant Administrators (Regulatory Programs, Operations, and the Director of Scientific Programs). Determining policy is one of the most important functions of NOAA Fisheries leadership. Policy provides a focus and context for NOAA Fisheries' actions and a guide for the behavior of the organization and its members.

The Office of Policy helps create policy guidance through research, analysis, and review of programmatic, organizational, and budgetary implications of current or proposed actions, and develops and manages subsequent processes for policy implementation and integration. The Office identifies future national-level requirements for living marine resource and habitat stewardship and develops plans and recommends programs to respond to those requirements.

Office of Policy Links:

NOAA Fisheries Leadership Council. The Office of Policy provides secretariat support for the NOAA Fisheries Leadership Council,  the senior policy making and advisory body for Agency policy, decision making, strategy, direction, and guidance serving the Assistant Administrator for Fisheries.

Marine Fisheries Advisory Committee (MAFAC). The Office of Policy serves as the Executive Secretary for MAFAC, a Federal Advisory Committee to NOAA. MAFAC advises the Secretary of Commerce on all living marine resource matters that are the responsibility of the Department of Commerce. The members, representing a wide spectrum of fisheries, environmental, academic, state, tribal, consumer and other related national interests, draw on their expertise and other appropriate sources to evaluate and recommend priorities and needed changes in national programs.

NOAA Fisheries Policy Directives System (PDS). The PDS establishes the framework for formulating NOAA Fisheries policy, and serves as the repository for NMFS policies and procedures. The PDS processes, requirements and holdings are maintained in a publicly-accessible website.

Cooperative Research and Cooperative Management White Paper: The white paper is a broad review on the agency’s cooperative management and cooperative research activities undertaken pursuant to NOAA Fisheries’ major statutes (e.g., Endangered Species Act (ESA), Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), and MSA). The paper reviews relevant literature and legal mandates, provides examples of NOAA Fisheries’ existing activities, analyzes of internal and external interviews, and makes recommendations for NOAA Fisheries’ future engagement in cooperative management and cooperative research.