Scott Kelley, a longtime employee of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, will be taking over the position of director of commercial fisheries as of Oct. 21.

The appointment comes almost three weeks after former director Jeff Regnart, who worked in the department for 30 years, abruptly stepped down from the position to spend more time with his family and work as a consultant for the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Scott Kelley with a rainbow trout from the upper Taku River a few years ago. Scott Kelley photo.According to department Deputy Commissioner Kevin Brooks, Kelley was an obvious choice to step into the director position.

“Scott has learned the ins and outs of the industry over the years,” said Brooks, which he said might’ve been more difficult for an outsider.

Kelley has a bachelors of science in fishery management from Oregon State University and a masters degree in fisheries management from the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. He started his career with fish and game as a port sampler at excursion inlet, a major processing facility west of Juneau, in 1990. 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, which was his most recent position.

The department is putting Kelley right to work. His first task will be to represent the department at the Board of Fisheries’ work session in Anchorage starting on his first day on the job.

“I’ve got a bit of catching up to do in areas I’m less familiar with, but I’m excited,” said Kelley before the work session began on Wednesday. “You never know what’s going to happen in Alaska.”

Have you listened to this article via the audio player above?

If so, send us your feedback around what we can do to improve this feature or further develop it. If not, check it out and let us know what you think via email or on social media.

Samuel Hill is the former associate editor for National Fisherman. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine where he got his start in journalism at the campus’ newspaper, the Free Press. He has also written for the Bangor Daily News, the Outline, Motherboard and other publications about technology and culture.

Join the Conversation