Research Interests

  • Interdisciplinary approaches to ocean and coastal conservation
  • Ocean policy and law
  • Environmental justice and equitable policy outcomes
  • Marine protected areas
  • Offshore energy
  • Small-scale fisheries and coastal communities
  • Climate change and the ocean
  • Water quality, use and management


  • B.S. Biology, University of Wisconsin — Eau Claire
  • J.D., Lewis & Clark Law School


Samantha Murray is the Executive Director of the MAS MBC Program where she also teaches graduate courses, including Ocean Law and Policy. In 2019 she was appointed by Governor Newsom to the California Fish and Game Commission and currently serves as Vice President. Samantha has nearly two decades of professional experience and has directed ocean and water programs at Ocean Conservancy, the Audubon Society, and Oregon Environmental Council, in addition to founding a marine policy consulting business. Samantha played a key role in the design and implementation of California's network of marine protected areas, which now cover 16 percent of state waters. She served on the Marine Protected Area Federal Advisory Committee, has held board positions at Upstream Public Health and Citizens for East Shore Parks, and currently sits on the board at San Diego Coastkeeper.

Samantha has spoken at conferences around the world on best practices in ocean conservation and holds a J.D. from Lewis and Clark Law School, where she was awarded a Certificate in Natural Resources and Environmental Law. Samantha is committed to diversity, inclusion and equitable impacts of public policy.