The Alaska Dept. of Fish and Game's new acting commissioner, Douglas Vincent-Lang, is the only one to apply for the job. His history in the department dates back to 1981 when he began as a research and management biologist for the Division of Sport Fish. When he ended his career 34 years later, it was as Director of Wildlife Conservation.

He'd been retired from the department for several years when he recently got a phone call from Alaska's new governor, Mike Dunleavy.

"There are a couple of things that I talked to the governor about and we have a shared vision on," Vincent-Lang said. 

Vincent-Lang says those issues include food security, local management of state resources and encouraging a new generation of hunters and fishers in Alaska.

When asked how he sees the balance between sport and commercial fishing in the state, Vincent-Lang replied, "Clearly the board of Fisheries is going to play a huge role. We're going to work with them to find what that right balance is, but I know how important it is to have that opportunity to go down and fish and make it predictable."

Earlier this week, the department released summer fishing restrictions on Chinook salmon in Cook Inlet and Southeast Alaska. Vincent-Lang says that was part of his new approach as acting commissioner. Normally, those kinds of notifications wouldn't come out until spring.

"One thing I learned is that people aren't really as concerned about harvesting fish as they are about having a predictable opportunity to go harvest fish," Vincent-Lang said. 

Vincent-Lang says he also shares Gov. Dunleavy's new mantra to restore trust in government. 

"I don't think that trust is low, as much as we haven't done an adequate job in communicating and talking to people about their concerns," Vincent-Lang said of the Department of Fish and Game. 

While Vincent-Lang is the only Alaskan to apply for the job, ultimately the Boards of Fish and Game will have a say in whether he keeps it.

The two boards will meet Wednesday to interview Vincent-Lang, then make a recommendation to the governor about his nomination. For more on that process, and the opportunity for public comment, click here.

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