Commission and Executive

The Commissioners are appointed for their high level of expertise in one or more of the fields of fisheries management, fishing industry operations, science, natural resource management, economics, business or financial management, law, public sector administration or governance. The following Commissioners held appointments during the reporting period 2015–16.


Figure 32: AFMA Commissioners from left to right: Dr James Findlay (CEO), Mr Ian Cartwright, Mr David Hall, Hon. Norman Moore AM (Chairman), Mr Richard Stevens OAM (Deputy Chair), Ms Catherine Cooper, Prof Keith Sainsbury.

Hon. Norman Moore AM – Chairman

Norman is a member and Chair of a number of boards including: Chair, Cannings Purple Strategic Communications; Deputy Chair Sir Charles Court Foundation (Chair, Education Trust sub-committee); and Chair, Patrons Group of Western Australian School of Mines Graduates Association. He was previously Western Australian Minister for Mines and Petroleum; Fisheries, Electoral Affairs (Minister for Justice – June 2012) and Leader of the Government in the Legislative Council.

Dr James Findlay – Chief Executive Officer

James is an AFMA Commissioner and AFMA Chief Executive Officer. He has a PhD in fisheries biology and has held senior government roles across fisheries science, policy and management. He has also held senior government roles in other natural resource management areas including climate adaptation and sustainable water use. He was a research consultant in aquatic animal health for the aquaculture industry and was a senior lecturer in genetics at the University of Tasmania.

Mr Richard Stevens OAM – Deputy Chair

Richard has been involved in the Australian seafood industry since 1977, holding senior executive positions at both the State and Commonwealth level. Since 2001, he has undertaken numerous reviews of fisheries management arrangements, including in South Australia, New South Wales, and the Torres Strait, and currently chairs a number of fishery related committees, including the New South Wales Ministerial Fisheries Advisory Council and the Northern Territory Recreational Fishing Advisory Committee. Richard’s expertise covers natural resource management, policy and planning, and economics.

Mr Ian Cartwright

Ian has a Master of Science in Economics, is Chair of the Tasmanian Fisheries Research Advisory Board and chair of various fisheries committees. His expertise covers commercial fishing, fisheries science, natural resource management, economics and business management.

Professor Keith Sainsbury

Keith is Director of SainSolutions, Professor of Marine Systems Science (University of Tasmania) and Vice-Chair of the Board of the Marine Stewardship Council. His internationally recognised expertise covers fisheries science, natural resource management and marine ecology.

Ms Catherine Cooper

Catherine currently chairs the South Australian Fisheries and Aquaculture Research Advisory Committee and Aquaculture Advisory Council. Catherine is an industry leader and she was a finalist in both the 1997 and 1998 Telstra Business Women’s Awards. She has extensive committee and board experience including as former Chair of the Fisheries Council of South Australia.

Mr David Hall

David is the Managing Director of fish tag manufacturing company Hallprint P/L. David was formerly Executive Director, Grape and Wine Research and Development Corporation and Director of Fisheries in South Australia and the Northern Territory.

AFMA commissioners – attendance at commission meetings

Four Commission meetings were held in 2015–16. The table below shows the number of meetings Commissioners attended in 2015–16.

AFMA commissioners – attendance at Commission meetings



Hon Norman Moore (Chairman)


Dr James Findlay (CEO)


Mr Richard Stevens (Deputy Chairman)


Mr Ian Cartwright


Prof Keith Sainsbury


Ms Catherine Cooper


Mr David Hall



Role and function

The Executive is AFMA’s senior management team responsible to the Chief Executive Officer for the effective operation and performance of the agency.


  • Dr James Findlay – Chief Executive Officer
  • Dr Nick Rayns – Executive Manager, Fisheries Management Branch
  • Mr Peter Venslovas – General Manager, Operations Branch
  • Mr John Andersen – acting General Manager, Corporate Services Branch
  • Mr Andrew Pearson – Executive Secretary
  • Mr Robert Gehrig – Chief Finance Officer
  • Ms Danielle Kuhn – Communications Manager.

Audit and risk Committee

Role and function

During 2015–16 the Audit and Risk Committee operated in line with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013. The current committee met three times during the financial year. The main items considered by the committee during the year were:

  • the committee’s charter and relationship to the Commission
  • a review of the 2014–15 financial statements and preparations for the 2015–16 financial statements
  • review of the internal audit program and internal audit reports
  • AFMA’s implementation of the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013
  • review of governance arrangements
  • the risk management framework and business continuity plan.


The current committee comprises one AFMA Commissioner and three independent members. These members are:

  • Ms Catherine Cooper – Chair (Commissioner)
  • Ms Mary Harwood
  • Mr Geoff Knuckey
  • Ms Kate Freebody

A number of observers and advisers attended meetings during the year, including AFMA’s Chief Executive Officer, Chief Finance Officer, acting General Manager of Corporate Services Branch and audit representatives from Oakton Consulting Technology (internal audit providers), KPMG (contracted external auditors) and the Australian National Audit Office.

AFMA’s Executive Secretary provides secretariat support for the Audit and Risk Committee.

Research Committee

Role and function

The role of AFMA’s Research Committee is to advise the AFMA Commission on the strategic directions, priorities and funding for monitoring and research relevant to meeting AFMA’s information needs and objectives. In doing so the primary functions of the committee are to:

  • review and advise on research, monitoring and assessment priorities for Commonwealth fisheries
  • review AFMA’s five year research plans for Commonwealth fisheries managed by AFMA
  • provide advice to the AFMA Commission on allocation of AFMA research funds
  • assess research, monitoring and assessment investments for the Commonwealth fisheries for consistency with management needs.

The committee held two face-to-face meetings and one out-of-session meeting in the 2015–16 financial year.


  • Mr Ian Cartwright (Chair and Commissioner)
  • Prof Keith Sainsbury (Commissioner)
  • Mr David Hall (Commissioner)
  • Dr James Findlay (Chief Executive Officer)
  • Dr Nick Rayns (Executive Manager, Fisheries Management Branch)
  • Ms Kerrie Bennetts (acting Secretary to the Committee).

Permanent advisors

  • Ms Beth Gibson (Senior Manager, Policy, Environment, Economics and Research)
  • Ms Yvonne Zunic (Manager, Research).

Regular observers

The committee also invited regular observers from the following agencies and departments to attend and provide expert advice:

  • Fisheries Research and Development Corporation
  • The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Oceans and Atmosphere
  • Commonwealth Fisheries Association
  • Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

Project and Governance Committee

AFMA’s Projects and Governance Committee considers business cases and project plans for approval, oversights the management of these projects and provides guidance to manage each project’s risk, budget, timeframes, expectations and impact.

The committee’s membership comprises the Chief Executive Officer (as Chair), all General Managers and the Senior Manager, Service Delivery. The Senior Manager Business and Senior Manager Workplace
– Property, Risk and Security attend when required.

Information Governance Committee

The AFMA Information Governance Committee is responsible for ensuring that information governance addresses how information assets are managed to support organisational outcomes. It ensures that risk and compliance issues are identified and addressed for as long as the information is required. The committee provides a strategic approach to managing information and records to reduce business risk, increase accountability and improve operational efficiencies. It ensures that information has integrity and reliability, is searchable and accessible while ensuring appropriate controls.

The committee also ensures that the requirements of the AFMA Records and Information Management Framework, the Government’s Digital Transition Policy and Digital Continuity Policy 2020, related standards and legislative requirements are met.

The members of the committee include the acting General Manager Corporate Services Branch, the Security Advisor, and a representative from both the Fisheries Operations Branch and the Fisheries Management Branch. The Senior Legal Officer and any subject matter experts attend as required.