Press Release
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Names New Superintendent for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument
Contact:, 808-343-4064

GARAPAN, Saipan  —The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) announced Dr. Sean Macduff as the new superintendent for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument. Macduff will begin his new position in the Service’s monument office in Garapan mid-September, 2023.

The Mariana Trench Marine National Monument protects the submerged lands and waters around the three northernmost Mariana Islands, an arc of 18 undersea volcanoes and thermal vents west of the Marianas, and the trench itself. The Mariana Trench is the deepest trench on Earth, deeper than the height of Mount Everest above sea level. Macduff will oversee this magnificent natural area, which includes the Mariana Trench National Wildlife Refuge and the Mariana Arc of Fire National Wildlife Refuge.

Macduff was raised in the Mariana Islands where resource sustainability and environmental stewardship were a constant life lesson. Macduff started his conservation career in Hawaiʻi as a Graduate Research Fellow with the National Science Foundation from 2008 to 2013. He also studied coral reefs in Hawai‘i and Saipan for the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa (UHM), where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in marine biology and biological oceanography. He went on to earn his Doctorate in zoology from the UHM.

"I am excited about returning home to Saipan and being the loudest (and deepest) advocate for the Mariana Trench Marine National Monument,” said Macduff. “As a native Chamorro who was raised in the Mariana Islands, I understand the importance of 'getting it right' for the local community. I'm passionate about science and applying a collaborative and informed management approach to solve issues important to ecosystem health and the communities who depend on them.”

Dr. Macduff has more than 15 years of experience in science and management of marine ecosystems. He joins the Service from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) where he implemented Clean Water Act provisions for the restoration and recovery of the Puget Sound ecosystem, on the U.S. northwest Pacific coast. For two years, Macduff served as the assistant director for community engagement under Sea Grant in Seattle where he led a team of researchers, outreach, and extension staff charged with connecting relevant research to communities. Prior to his work with the EPA, Macduff served as a fisheries biologist for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands - Division of Fish and Wildlife - on Saipan, where he helped manage nearshore and offshore fishery resources. Macduff was also an aquatic biologist working on Saipan with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Superintendent Macduff will lead all Trench Monument program operations from the FWS offices and visitor contact station in Garapan, where FWS Ranger Jihan Younis is presently stationed, and has been coordinating with partners and leading education and outreach activities. In this new position, Superintendent Macduff is responsible for all supervisory and operational elements of the FWS conservation management of the MTMNM.

Among his favorite hobbies, Sean enjoysphotography andbeing immersed in the environment. Sean and family are thrilled about their new journey and the return to Sean’s home.