Commissioner’s Insights on Alaska’s Fishing Industry

By Carli Stewart.

ComFish is Alaska’s once-a-year commercial fishing trade show, the largest and longest-running in the state. The 2024 show took place this past week, bringing together every aspect of the commercial fishing industry, from equipment, technology, and gear exhibitors to government agencies and nonprofits. The show includes forums on relevant topics to share ideas and fishing information with the public.

This year, Doug Vincent-Lang, a seasoned veteran with 34 years of public service at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game (ADFG), voiced his concerns about lawsuits, bycatch issues, and overfishing, according to an article from KMXT. The article delved into the commissioner’s opening remarks, which centered around the concept of economic sustainability.

“Without a market, what’s the use of having fisheries out there?” he shared.

Vincent-Lang spent 34 years in public service at the ADFG before accepting the commissioner position in 2019. He began working in the department as a fisheries research and management biologist for the Division of Sport Fish in 1981 and held that position for 28 years. During those years, he worked on many high-level research and policy issues for Alaska.

The commissioner’s priorities in his position include the protection and maintenance of the state’s right and authority to manage their fish and game resources and expanding outreach and educational efforts to ensure there is the next generation of hunters, fishers, trappers, and professionals.

In his speech at ComFish, he stated that when he initially took the job leading the department, he thought he was to answer questions mostly about biology and harvest rates; he said now, he also keeps an eye on the economic side of the industry.

According to the press, “I guarantee you it’s not going to go unnoticed in terms of the amount of effort I’m going to put towards it (the situation) to make sure that we don’t end up losing fishermen, processors, fisheries, and the importance that that has in terms of tax revenue to our local communities,” he said.