Commercial Fishing NSW Advisory Council

CommFish NSW

Following industry-wide consultation, CommFish NSW has been established to provide commercial fishing stakeholders greater representation as part of the provision of independent advice, to the Minister for Primary Industries on strategic and policy issues relating to the commercial fishing industry in NSW.

The advice provided will assist the Minister (and DPI Fisheries) to develop sound policies and decisions to manage the fisheries resources and ecosystems of NSW, in accordance with the objects of the Fisheries Management Act 1994 which are to ‘conserve, develop and share the fishery resources of the State for the benefit of present and future generations’.

The Council operates under a Charter (PDF, 235.98 KB) which sets out the objectives and mode of operation of the Council and the roles and responsibilities of members.

Call for Expressions of Interest - Committee Members

The Department of Primary Industries recently called for Expressions of Interest for appointment to the Commercial Fishing NSW Advisory Council (CommFish NSW) representing the following fisheries:

  • Ocean Trawl Fishery
  • Lobster Fishery
  • Ocean Trap and Line Fishery
  • Abalone Fishery
  • Ocean Hauling Fishery

Expressions of Interest have now closed.



The chairperson of CommFish NSW is appointed by the Minister for Primary Industries. The chairperson must be a person who, in the opinion of the Minister:

  • has no direct or indirect pecuniary interest in the fishery concerned;
  • does not represent DPI Fisheries;
  • does not represent any restricted fishery or share management fishery;has significant expertise and experience in the management of fisheries; and
  • is not a member of CommFish NSW.

The chairperson does not have voting rights.


Under clause 290 of the Fisheries Management (General) Regulation, CommFish NSW is composed of the following members
(13 in total):

(a) For each restricted fishery, one person who:

  • (i) is an employee or office holder of an industry body that represents the fishery, or
  • (ii) is an entitlement holder who, in the opinion of the Minister, has expertise (or has shown leadership) in the fishery or in the commercial sector of the fishing industry generally;

(b) For each share management fishery, one person who:

  • (iii) is an employee or office holder of an industry body that represents the fishery, or
  • (iv) holds shares in the fishery and who, in the opinion of the Minister, has expertise(or has shown leadership) in the fishery or in the commercial sector of the fishing industry generally;

(c) the person appointed to the Ministerial Fisheries Advisory Council as an expert in or representative of the commercial fishing industry;

(d) an Aboriginal person who is a commercial fisher; and

(e) a nominee of the Secretary of the Department of Industry(who does not have voting rights).

Chair: Mr Stuart Richey AM

Mr Stuart Richey AM has been appointed to the role of Chair of CommFish NSW. Mr Richey is a Tasmanian commercial fisher, a foundation member and former Deputy Chair on the Board of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority, as well as the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. Mr Richey was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 2005 for service to the commercial fishing industry, particularly the promotion of sustainable utilisation of Australian Government managed fisheries.

View media release



Fishery Represented


Greg Finn

Abalone Share Managed Fishery


Geoff Blackburn

Estuary General Share Managed Fishery


Steve Everson

Estuary Prawn Trawl Share Managed Fishery


Mark Cranstone

Lobster Share Managed Fishery

Central Coast

Tony Virtu

Ocean Hauling Share Managed Fishery


Mitchell Sanders

Ocean Trap and Line Share Managed Fishery

Central Coast

Darren Ward

Ocean Trawl Share Managed Fishery

New South Wales

Steve Hounsell

Inland Restricted Fishery


Craig Shephard

Sea Urchin & Turban Shell Restricted Fishery

Sydney East

John Jarvis

Southern Fish Trawl Restricted Fishery


Raymond Saunders

Aboriginal Commercial Fishers


Greg Finn

Ministerial Fisheries Advisory Council


Group Director – Commercial Fisheries & Aquaculture

Nominee of the Secretary


CommFish NSW meetings

Meeting 14, 7 August 2020 – Sydney

Meeting 13, 10 July 2020 – Sydney

Meeting 12, 12 June 2020 – Sydney

Meeting 11, 25-26 February 2020 – Sydney

Meeting 10, 6 March 2019 – Sydney

Meeting 9, 21-22 November 2018 – Sydney

Meeting 8, 11 September 2018 – Sydney

Meeting 7, 11 July 2018 – Sydney

Meeting 6, 5-6 June 2018 – Ballina

Meeting 5, 14 March 2018 - Sydney

Meeting 4, 28-29 November 2017 - Coffs Harbour

Meeting 3, 18-19 September 2017 - Sydney

Meeting 2, 11-12 July 2017 - Sydney

Meeting 1, 25-26 May 2017 - Sydney

Provide correspondence to CommFish

Undertake a correspondence submission to Commercial Fishing NSW Advisory Council.