Commission and executive

AFMA 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.

AFMA Commissioners at 1 January 20174

AFMA Commissioners at 1 January 2017 from left to right: Mr Ian Cartwright, Dr James Findlay (CEO), Mr Richard Stevens OAM, Ms Renata Brooks, Ms Catherine Cooper (Deputy Chair), Hon Norman Moore AM (Chairman), Prof Keith Sainsbury

The following Commissioners held appointments during the reporting period 2016–17:

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’s 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

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. He 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 to 30 September 2016

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.

Ms Renata Brooks from 1 October 2016

Renata is an independent director and consultant. Previously she was Deputy Director General, Land and Natural Resources in the New South Wales Department of Primary Industries, with responsibility for the NSW crown land estate, natural resource policy and programs, and coordination of primary industry policy. She has held senior executive positions within the NSW Department of Primary Industries in the areas of science and research, agriculture, fisheries, biosecurity, compliance and mine safety.

AFMA Commissioners – Attendance at Commission meetings

Five Commission meetings were held in 2016–17. The table below shows the number of meetings Commissioners attended.



Hon Norman Moore AM


Dr James Findlay


Mr Richard Stevens OAM


Mr Ian Cartwright


Prof Keith Sainsbury


Ms Catherine Cooper


Mr David Hall


Ms Renata Brooks



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, Fisheries Operations Branch
  • Mr John Andersen – 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

The Audit and Risk Committee operates in line with the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013 and provides independent advice and assurance of the appropriateness of AFMA’s:

  • financial reporting including the annual audited financial statements
  • performance reporting including the framework for developing, measuring and reporting
  • systems of risk oversight and management including AFMA’s risk management and fraud control framework
  • systems of internal control – governance, risk management, compliance and business continuity management arrangements.


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.

Regular Observers

The Committee also invites regular observers to attend including:

  • AFMA’s Chief Executive Officer, Chief Finance Officer, General Manager of Corporate Services Branch; and
  • Audit representatives from Bellchambers Barrett (internal audit providers), KPMG (contracted external auditors) and the Australian National Audit Office.

AFMA’s Executive Secretariat provides administrative 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 2016–17.


  • Mr Ian Cartwright (Chair and Commissioner)
  • Prof Keith Sainsbury (Commissioner)
  • Ms Renata Brooks (Commissioner)
  • Dr James Findlay (Chief Executive Officer)
  • Dr Nick Rayns (Executive Manager, Fisheries Management Branch )
  • Dr Jane Chimungeni-Brassington (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 invites regular observers from the following agencies and departments to attend and provide expert advice:

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

Project and Governance Committee

The AFMA Projects and Governance Committee was established to consider business cases and project plans for approval, oversight the management of these projects and provide guidance to manage each project’s risk, budget, timeframes, expectations and impact.

During 2016–17 AFMA re-defined the scope of the Project and Governance Committee and implemented a Strategic Development Framework to support the delivery of projects across the organisation. The framework has been developed to support improved oversight and increased accuracy in resourcing and managing project work, supporting a focus on planning and governance. A new committee, the Strategic Delivery Committee, made up of AFMA’s Executive, will oversee the delivery of relevant project work. The Strategic Delivery Committee held one meeting during the reporting period, largely to familiarise members with the process as well as review projects identified through section planning. Future meetings will review the business cases prepared by project managers and initiate the reporting process.

Development of a Strategic Delivery Framework has provided defined project management processes, systematic reporting and co-ordination of this function through the Committee Secretariat, based in AFMA’s Corporate Risk Team.

Information Governance Committee

The AFMA Information Governance Committee is responsible for ensuring that appropriate governance arrangements exist around the information it collects, stores and uses in support of its organisational outcomes. In line with the Australian Government’s Digital Continuity 2020 Policy, AFMA in 2016–17 commenced implementation of an agency wide digital recordkeeping system or Electronic Document and Records Management, to reduce paper records and improve efficiency in data and information management.

The Committee is considering a range of initiatives to improve AFMA’s information governance processes and is exploring opportunities to link these to the AFMA ICT Strategy Plan. A focus of the Plan is to look at our core data and the way the business interacts with it and to make improvements to its structure to better support users and stakeholders alike. The Committee will continue to be consulted as part of this process in 2017–18.

Existing information governance documents held by AFMA are being reviewed and a consultant has been engaged to assist in the development of an overarching Information Management Strategy which will provide a pathway for meeting the requirements of the Digital Continuity 2020 Policy and the Australian Government’s data initiatives and policies.