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ADF&G names commercial, sport fishery directors

KETCHIKAN (KDN) — Alaska Department of Fish and Game Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang announced on Jan. 24 that he has appointed Sam Rabung as director of Commercial Fisheries and Dave Rutz as director of the Division of Sport Fish, according to a press release from Fish and Game.

Both Rabung and Rutz have successful careers at the department and are going into their new leadership roles with experienced outlooks, according to the Jan. 24 announcement.

"Dave Rutz and Sam Rabung come to these positions with outstanding qualifications," said Vincent-Lang. "Both have years of knowledge and experience in Alaska's fisheries. They have held increasingly complex and diverse positions in the department and around the state. I am pleased that they have agreed to serve."

Rutz worked in fisheries research and management for almost 40 years. He spent much of that time at the Division of Sport Fish as an area management biologist in the Northern and Western Cook Inlet Management area.

"I'm honored to be appointed and look forward to working with sport fisheries staff and department leadership to carry out the department's mission to protect and enhance fisheries resources for the benefit of all Alaskans," Rutz said.

Rutz also led the department's Alexander Creek Invasive Northern Pike Removal and Restoration project in addition to working around the state in both research and management roles. He graduated from St. Cloud State University in Minnesota with a Bachelor of Science with an emphasis on wildlife fisheries, in 1980.

Before accepting his new promotion, Rabung served as section chief for the Division of Commercial Fisheries Statewide Aquaculture, Planning and Permitting, a position he had held since 2015. Rabung also worked an array of positions overseeing hatcheries around the state. He joined the department in 1983 as a fisheries technician.

Rabung graduated from Sheldon Jackson College with honors in 1987. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Aquatic Resources and Fisheries Science with an aquaculture emphasis. Rabung is a lifelong Alaskan who attended A.J Dimond High School in Anchorage, which he graduated from in 1982. Currently, Rabung serves as a voting member on all statewide regional planning teams and is vice chair of the Governor's Mariculture Task Force.

"I look forward to serving the people of the state in this new role," said Rabung, who will be based in Juneau. "ADFG is a unique and well-respected agency, and the Division has a very strong team of dedicated and talented professionals. This is an opportunity to work closely with others across the department to ensure we are contributing to the Alaska economy and putting fish on the plates of Alaskans."

Both begin work on Monday.