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Commissioner Sam Cotten

Photo of Commissioner Sam Cotten

Sam Cotten is the Commissioner of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game. As the department’s principal executive officer, Sam oversees six divisions, an annual operating budget of over $200 million, and more than 1,700 employees.

A lifelong Alaskan born in Juneau and having lived in Tenakee Springs, Douglas, Palmer, Eagle River, and Halibut Cove, Sam graduated from Chugiak High School. A veteran who served two tours of duty in Vietnam in the U.S. Navy, Sam received the Award for Alaska’s Outstanding Vietnam Veteran by the National No Greater Love Foundation. He holds an Associate of Arts degree from the University of Alaska Anchorage.

His long history of community involvement and public service includes multiple terms in the Alaska State Legislature and as Chairman of the House Finance and Resource Committees and Speaker of the House.

With six years as an Alaska voting member of the North Pacific Fishery Management Council, Sam has a strong fisheries background, including experience on committees and boards, such as the International North Pacific Fisheries Commission and Cook Inlet Aquaculture Association. He also served as an Advisor on U.S.-USSR fisheries negotiations and on the Board of the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.

Sam is an avid fisherman, having fished commercially with his family for 25 years in Kachemak Bay and sport fished throughout Alaska. He is an outdoorsman and has hunted in central and southeast Alaska over the years. Along with special recognition from the Alaska Outdoor Council, Sam was awarded the Wildlife Federation of Alaska Legislative Conservation Award in 1988.

He and his wife, Martha Tillion Cotten, M.D., have two sons, Sam and Gus.