Alaska Department of Fish and Game has a new director of commercial fisheries. Jeff Regnart has been promoted from regional supervisor to oversee about 300 full-time and 400 seasonal employees in the commercial fisheries division.
The division had been run by Sue Aspelund on an interim basis following the retirement of John Hilsinger who left along with outgoing Fish and Game Commissioner Denby Lloyd in December. Commissioner Cora Campbell announced Regnart’s appointment last week.
Speaking from the floor of a Board of Fisheries meeting in Anchorage, Regnart said there wouldn’t be any immediate shake ups.
commfish 1 :20 "I’m not gonna … or modify"
Regnart started at Fish and Game as a fisheries technician more than 26 years ago. Most recently he was the supervisor for the central region that includes Bristol Bay, Cook Inlet and Prince William Sound. He said he appreciates the economic benefits of commercial fishing in the state.
commfish 2 :24 "We want to try … that I have."
In a statement Commissioner Campbell praised Regnart’s "outstanding qualifications" and noted his experience as a licensed sportfish guide during his college years. Regnart earned a Master’s degree in Fishery Management from Humboldt State University in northern California.
There’s been some high level turnover in the agency lately. But Regnart says morale continues to be strong and pointed to the relative health of Alaska’s fisheries.
commfish 3 :25 "It’s never been as … in two decades."
Aside from commercial fisheries, the division also oversees subsistence and personal fisheries. It also conducts stock assessments and compiles statistics for a science-based approach to fisheries management.