Rabung named director of commercial fisheries

Alaska Commissioner of Fish and Game Doug Vincent-Lang has appointed Sam Rabung as director of commercial fisheries, and Dave Rutz to serve as director of the Division of Sport Fish.

Rabung had served, since 2015, as section chief for the Division of Commercial Fisheries Statewide Aquaculture, Planning and Permitting. He has also worked in several positions overseeing hatchery operations in Alaska.

A lifelong Alaska, Rabung graduated from A.J. Dimond High School in Anchorage, then with honors in 1987 from Sheldon Jackson College with a bachelor’s degree in aquatic resources, fisheries science and aquaculture emphasis. He serves as a voting member of all regional planning teams statewide and as vice chair of the Governor’s Mariculture Task Force.

Rutz has spent much of his lengthy fisheries career at ADF&G’s Division of Sport Fish as an area management biologist in the Northern and Western Cook Inlet management area. He also led the agency’s Alexander Creek invasive Northern Pike removal and restoration project and has worked in various other research and management roles. He graduated from St. Cloud State in Minnesota in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in wildlife fisheries emphasis.

Vincent-Lang, the only person to apply for the commissioner’s job, was nominated by the Alaska Joint Boards of Fisheries and Game on Jan. 16 to serve as commissioner.

He began work at ADF&G as a fisheries research and management biologist in the Sports Fish division in 1981 and held positions of regional management and research coordinator and assistant director over a 28-year period. As director of the division’s wildlife section under the administration of Gov. Sean Parnell, Vincent-Lang opposed federal protections for some wildlife species.  He was dismissed by the Walker administration in 2015.

On Dec. 3, Gov. Mike Dunleavy announced the appointment of Vincent-Lang as acting commissioner of ADF&G. His nomination still faces confirmation from the Alaska Legislature.