Alaska Department of Fish and Game is losing a top fisheries official. Commercial Fisheries Director John Hilsinger will soon be leaving along with Fish and Game Commissioner Denby Lloyd. The two announced their retirement simultaneously in an email to staff last month.
Hilsinger is a trained biologist who has worked with the agency for 32 years. He said his decision to leave was directly tied to Lloyd’s departure.
–(fishandgame 1) :20 "You know, a lot of us … decision for me as well."
There’s been no word on appointing a successor for Commissioner Lloyd or even an interim commercial fisheries director. The joint boards of fish and game will be doing the screening before submitting nominations for the next commissioner
But that won’t happen until after next week’s election. In the meantime the Department of Fish and Game is preparing itself for some big changes at the top, says Cora Campbell, the governor’s fisheries aide in Juneau.
–(fishandgame 2) :17 "There is going to be … take on new responsibilities."
Hilsinger was appointed commercial fisheries director in March of 2007. Before that he’d been a liaison to federal fisheries managers overseeing subsistence programs. He says one of the main challenges of his department is to manage the harvest of salmon runs which are seeing greater variability between seasons.
–(fishandgame 3) :13 "In some areas we’ve had … a lot of the salmon runs."
He also says managing hatchery salmon so that they co-existence with wild stocks is a task needing more research.
–(fishandgame 4) :44 "We’ve got a very large … of hatchery production."
Despite the changes coming at Fish and Game, Campbell says the agency is working hard to make the transition smooth.
–(fishandgame 5) :24 "Although we do have some people … these issues."
Both Hilsinger and Lloyd’s retirements take effect December 1st. And no replacements, even for the interim, have been named.