The state has a new director of commercial fisheries. Long-time Fish and Game employee Scott Kelley takes over Wednesday, replacing Jeff Regnart, who retired at the start of October.
Kelley started his career with fish and game as a port sampler at excursion inlet, a major processing facility west of Juneau. Since then he’s held a variety of roles in Southeast Alaska, including working on stock assessments, serving as a regional management coordinator, and running the Shellfish and Groundfish program in Southeast.
“Well, it’s a challenge. The job that I just had, it was, you know I had it down pat, and that’s fine, it was a fun job,” Kelley said. “I got a lot of field work which was very fun and very rewarding. I definitely like to embrace challenges, and this director job of commercial fisheries division certainly fits the bill.”
The first challenge Kelley will face is helping draft next year’s budget, which is expected to include cuts throughout the state.
“I’ll definitely be working with the leadership of all the divisions and of course the commissioner on that whole process, and I know everybody’s aware that it’s going to be probably pretty heavy sledding, heavy going for a while, and then of course move into the legislative session and work with the leadership there and legislators themselves,” Kelley said.
Kelley says his favorite part of fisheries management is the people, from working with other fish and game employees to getting to know fishermen and folks in industry.