Ministerial Fisheries Advisory Council

The Ministerial Fisheries Advisory Council has been established to provide the Minister for Primary Industries with high-level strategic policy advice on issues relating to the management of fisheries resources in NSW.

This will include broad advice to assist with the management of commercial fishing, recreational/charter fishing and Aboriginal cultural fishing as well as issues which impact across fisheries and sectors such as resource sharing, co-management, cost recovery and ecosystem based fisheries management.

The Council has prepared a Strategy (PDF, 664.24 KB) to address its terms of reference, and in particular, to establish a work program of key strategies and outcomes identified by the Council as the focus of its work over the next three years.  The Strategy is regularly reviewed and updated.

The Council operates under a Charter (PDF, 82.79 KB) which sets out the objectives and mode of operation of the Council and the roles and responsibilities of members.


The composition of the Council is prescribed under clause 287 of the Fisheries Management (General) Regulation 2010. The Council is to be composed of 5 voting members and an independent Chair, all appointed by Cabinet on the nomination of the Minister for Primary Industries. In addition, a senior member of the Department of Primary Industries will attend as an ex officio (non voting) member.

The 5 voting members of the Council are to include the following:

  • one person who the Minister is satisfied has expertise in commercial fishing or will represent commercial fishing interests,
  • one person who the Minister is satisfied has expertise in recreational fishing or will represent recreational fishing interests,
  • one person who the Minister is satisfied has expertise in aquaculture or will represent aquaculture interests,
  • one person who the Minister is satisfied has expertise in Aboriginal cultural fishing or will represent Aboriginal cultural fishing interests,
  • one person who the Minister is satisfied has expertise in conservation of aquatic resources or will represent those conservation interests.

Current membership

Chair – Dr James Findlay GAICD

Dr Findlay’s career as a natural resource manager and scientist spans numerous senior Australian Government roles including CEO of the Australian Fisheries Management Authority (AFMA) and Commonwealth Director of National Parks (including marine parks). For more than a decade he led or otherwise participated in Australian delegations to various Regional Fisheries Management Organisations dealing with highly migratory - and other shared fish stocks in both the Pacific and Indian Oceans as well as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. Dr Findlay is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors and his board experience includes membership of three boards with a majority of Aboriginal members dealing with management national parks on native title lands. Dr Findlay completed his doctorate at the National Key Centre for Aquaculture at the University of Tasmania and completed a degree in marine biology at the University of Queensland.

Mr Greg Finn

Greg Finn commenced commercial diving in 1998 as a Broome based Pearl diver for Paspaley Pearls. His NSW career has seen him diving for Sea Urchin and Turban Shell (SUTS) since 2000 and later progressing into the Abalone industry. He is now a first generation participant in the fishing industry and shareholder. He has recently been involved in the Ocean Trap and Line fishery specifically line harvest. Greg is a proactive industry member and advocate to domestic marketing and promoting underutilised species. Where he is working towards enhancement initiatives that promote resilience in stock abundance and industry based data collection. Member of inaugural Commercial Fishing NSW Advisory Council and current NSW Director on Abalone Council of Australia (ACA) and treasurer on Fishing and Training Council (FITC)..

Mr Matthew Hansen

Matthew Hansen has a strong commitment to the enhancement and promotion of recreational fishing in both inland and coastal waters. He is the founder and President of Inland Waterways Rejuvenation Association, President of the Lake Burrendong Classic Catch (raises funds for fish habitat restoration), OzFish Unlimited Chapter President & Board member. He is Passionate about fish habitat restoration, and works cooperatively with government to achieve meaningful change in fisheries and habitat conservation. Effective previous member on RFNSW and has played a key role in leading RFNSW on various fish habitat fisheries issues. Matthew has also received a Premiers Award in 2018 for ongoing services to the NSW community.

Mr Mark Bulley

Mr Mark Bulley – has been actively involved with the aquaculture industry since 1983 both as an oyster farmer and advocate for industry development and sustainability.  Mr Bulley has a wealth of experience representing the industry on numerous consultative and steering committees and advisory groups.

Assoc Prof Stephan Schnierer

Stephan Schnierer is currently an Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Environment, Sciences and Engineering at Southern Cross University, and is currently undertaking research on Indigenous cultural fishing. He has extensive knowledge and experience in fisheries biology and management, Indigenous fisheries and Traditional Fishing Knowledge. Stephan is committed to advocating for the rights of Indigenous people to maintain their cultural fishing practices.

Ms Jo-Anne McCrea

Jo-Anne McCrea has 23 years of experience in fisheries and aquaculture science and management both as a previous fishery manager in Western Australia and as a strong supporter of sustainable seafood programs. She currently leads the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) Sustainable Seafood Program, and has a particular focus on fishery improvement programs which will be beneficial in moving to consolidate the gains made through the commercial fisheries reform program undertaken by the NSW Government. Jo-Anne has a strong commitment to a long lasting and sustainable fishing industry for the benefit of the environment and the people whose lives depend on it. She has developed experience and skills working on many of the issues also facing the NSW fishing sectors such as structural adjustment, co-management, resource sharing and allocation, environmental management, habitat preservation, marine planning and compliance. In addition Jo-Anne was recently selected as a member of the FRDC Leadership Group tasked with the development of FRDC’s new Strategic Plan.