(1-minute read) COMMISSIONER’S NAME FORWARDED TO SENATE FOR CONFIRMATION
Interim Commissioner Doug Vincent-Lang won unanimous approval by the powerful joint boards of Fish and Game on Wednesday.
The boards, all appointees of former Gov. Bill Walker, rarely give such resounding concurrence. His name was the only name put forward by any entity for consideration.
Vincent-Lang’s name was forwarded to the Alaska Senate for confirmation and this morning was referred to the Resources Committee. That joint confirmation will likely be held early in the session, unlike in recent years, when it takes place in April.
Senate President Cathy Giessel wants to clear the confirmations from the Legislature’s schedule, and plans to hold public testimony on the designees.
Vincent-Lang was named as the designated commissioner by Gov. Mike Dunleavy, the governor’s second appointment upon taking office in December. But the commissioner of Fish and Game goes through a board vetting process, and that’s not always smooth.
The two boards set the rules for the various groups competing for the fish and game resources, and the competition between user groups is intense in Alaska.
Before his confirmation interview with the Boards, Vincent-Lang had already taken decisive steps in his interim role to protect the Upper Cook Inlet king salmon fishery, closing it down in most places for the 2019 season, an action that impacts subsistence, commercial, and sport fishing groups this year — sharing the burden of conservation with all groups.
Vincent-Lang was the director of the department’s Division of Wildlife Conservation under Gov. Sean Parnell, but was replaced by Gov. Walker in 2015, under then-Commissioner Sam Cotten.