Appointed Director in 2011, Regnart is retiring next month for family reasons; he plans to work as a consultant on sustainability initiatives for ASMI
After a thirty-year career with the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Jeff Regnart is stepping down as Director of the Division of Commercial Fisheries.
"October 2nd will be my last day as director," said Regnart. "It's something I've thought long and hard about, but I no longer can do that job because I have to be able to be out of state more, for family reasons."
A second-generation Fish and Gamer, Regnart began work with the Department as a high school student, working his way up from a field tech to area management biologist for the Naknek-Kvichak District, then becoming a regional supervisor.
Since being appointed director of commercial fisheries in 2011, Regnart says the biggest change he’s seen has been a scaling back of new initiatives due to the state’s fiscal climate.
"We’ve gone from actually developing new programs because the funds were available to having to prioritize our existing programs or even cutting them," he said. "So now we're having to look at our programs in a different light, to decide which are critical to keep, which are part of our core programs… So we can still provide access to the resource and at the same time be fiscally responsible. We have to tighten the belt."
The outgoing director will only be semi-retired; Regnart says he plans to stay involved in the industry as a consultant to the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
"I'm best if I keep occupied - my wife'll tell you that," said Regnart. "So I'm going to be working with ASMI on sustainability issues. So I'll be still working with Alaskan fisheries, just from a little different perspective.. So that's what I'll start doing here in the latter part of October is start working with them on the RFM, the Responsible Fisheries Management Program."
Regnart says there’s no word yet from Fish and Game Commissioner Sam Cotten about who will fill the director position for the Division of Commercial Fisheries.