Jeff Rice at his old desk (Courtesy of Jordan Lewis)

Jeff Rice just took a new position managing  Sport Fishing for Petersburg and Wrangell. Rice is not new to Petersburg, but it’s a new role for him. KFSK sat down with Rice in his old office at Petersburg’s Fish and Game to talk about what he hopes to bring to the new position.

Jeff Rice: Originally, I moved here in 2004. I was, I had already been in fisheries for some time. But I was coming out of the Peace Corps and I had been out of the country for a couple of years. I was looking to get back to Alaska. I had lived in Alaska before but up in Homer and Valdez and some other areas, and I had a friend here in Petersburg who I visited here before but he said you should come try this out. So I moved here and I expected to be here for a short period of time. It turned into I got a job with the Halibut Commission here in Petersburg, which kind of led me through my first couple years and then I moved into the job here with Fish and Game that I was in and then I started dating my wife and we got married and then we had a child and we bought a house and one thing led to another and here I am 20 years later.

Jordan Lewis : How does this new position differ from your previous one?

JR: My previous position was with the Division of Commercial Fisheries and I ran the port sampling program here. So we were going down and for all the commercial landings that occurred in Petersburg and in Wrangell. A group of people who worked on my project would interview the fishermen, take a look at their catch, do some biological sampling on their catch, and that information was used by the managers here at Fish and Game, in order to, you know, decide openings, closings, all the information they would use to manage the fishery. My new position, as the area management biologist for Petersburg for sport fish is in the Division of Sport Fish, and it is completely different than my old position. So, I am in my new position, I’m trying to deal with the sport fisheries exclusively, which is for this area, which is involves everything from ensuring that there is allowable catch for the sport fisheries and managing on that within that level and answering people’s questions about where to fish, when to fish, and encouraging people to get out in sport fish whenever possible.

JL: How did you get into your new position? What led you to go for that?

JR: I’ve been working in my prior position for 18 years. The opportunity came up for this new position opening and it sounded like something that might present a new challenge for me. After spending 18 years here in this office and understanding everything about commercial fisheries for quite some time. It’s very interesting to sit in the same office and not really know anything about the job I’m currently in I’m in a brand new job, but in exactly the same place, so it’s going to offer some new challenges and I look forward to those.

JL: What do you hope to bring to the new position?

JR: Well, I hope to encourage people to fish here in Petersburg, Wrangell, Kake, the area I have been an avid sport fisherman my whole life, I enjoy fly fishing, I enjoy fishing out of our boat there and we go on me and my family, we go out and we fish for basically everything halibut, salmon, and all of that. We get a lot of joy out of fishing as a family and I want to encourage others to do that and have an experience and Alaskan experience. Whether you live here or whether you’re coming up to fish up here. I have a lot of friends and family who have visited over the years and have enjoyed introducing them to sport fishing. I’d like to help others to do the same thing.