The state has a new director of commercial fisheries.
Scott Kelley is Alaska's new director of commercial fisheries as of Oct. 21, replacing Jeff Regnart, who retired at the start of October. Kelley has worked for the Department of Fish and Game for nearly 25 years, all of it in division of commercial fisheries and a since-merged research arm.
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, as an area management biologist, and as a regional management coordinator.
Kelley said he took the new position because it poses 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.
“As the regional supervisor, I had nine years of quite extensive budget experience,” Kelley said. “I’m very well aware of the process, but 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 his favorite part of fisheries management are the people involved.
“The friendship and the professional relationships that I’ve developed with not only staff, other fish and game people, but fishermen and other industry people has been very rewarding over my career,” Kelley said.