Recreational Fishing NSW Advisory Council

The Recreational Fishing NSW Advisory Council (RFNSW) has been established to provide advice to the Minister for Primary Industries on key recreational fishing issues in NSW.

The Advisory Council is based around a modern representative model, ensuring the views of regional fishers from right across the State are communicated. RFNSW includes eight regional members, two members with expertise in spearfishing and charter boat fishing and other representatives that significantly benefit the function of the Advisory Council.

For more information about the Council or to send a message:


Call: (02) 4424 7403

RFNSW members

Representative region/position



Independent Chair

Professor Johann Bell

Professor Johann (Jo) Bell has a wealth of experience relevant to this position. He is a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Australian National Centre for Ocean Resources and Security at the University of Wollongong and has a keen interest in both freshwater and marine recreational fishing.

He was appointed to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) in February 2008 to coordinate a project to assess the vulnerability of fisheries and aquaculture in the 22 Pacific Island countries and territories to climate change. Prior to joining SPC, Professor Bell spent 14 years with WorldFish, leading projects on the development of sustainable methods for coastal aquaculture, stock enhancement, and restoration and management of coastal fisheries in the Pacific and Asia.

Professor Bell’s recent activities have centred on assessing the role that fisheries play in the food security of Pacific Island people, and increasing access of coastal communities to the region’s rich tuna resources by expanding the use of nearshore fish aggregating devices.

Professor Bell has a MSc and PhD in Coastal Fish Ecology from Macquarie University, Australia.

Region 1 - Mid & Far North Coast

Mr David Rae

Mr David (Dave) Rae is a passionate angler who has been fishing since the age of four. He has fished competitively at local and state level, particularly beach and rock fishing activities. Dave works in the education sector and has postgraduate qualifications in Fisheries Science. He possesses an in depth knowledge of, and strong interest in, recreational fishing issues, threats and challenges facing the sector. Dave has proven high level communication skills and authored numerous articles as a recreational fishing journalist for Modern Fishing, Fishing World, NAFA and others.

Region 2 - Lower North Coast

Mr Paul Lennon

Mr Paul Lennon is a keen angler and has extensive experience in all forms of recreational fishing. He is employed in the retail fishing tackle industry and communicates with recreational fishers on a daily basis. Paul has written as a fishing journalist for Fishing World, Go Fishing Australia, Saltwater Fishing Australia, Australian Travelling Angler and NSW Fishing Monthly. He has a vast knowledge of both recreational and commercial fisheries issues.

Region 3 - Sydney & Central Coast

Mr Stan Konstantaras

Mr Stan Konstantaras has been involved in recreational fishing as an angler for many years and devotes the majority of his time to the sector.

He has for many years been a strong advocate for fishing safety issues, especially rock fishing and the Angel Ring program. Stan has been at the forefront in the education of culturally and linguistically diverse anglers on rock fishing and water safety issues. He has written and produced multiple fishing safety videos that have been translated into over 20 languages.

Stan is a member of South Sydney Amateur Fishing Association (since 1989) and has held the position of President since 2000; member of the Australian National Sportsfishing Association (ANSA) since 1989, President (ANSA NSW Branch) since 2010; National Safety Officer since 2006 and awarded life membership of ANSA in 2007; current President of the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW; and member of the International Game Fish Association since 1997.

He also has extensive experience as a representative on behalf of recreational fishers on state and national recreational fishing bodies.

Region 4 - Illawarra

Mr Greg Reid

Mr Greg Reid has vast experience as a professional fishing guide and charter fishing operator. Greg is also a highly qualified and experienced mariner and marine service provider. As an avid angler and active promoter of sustainable fishing practices, Greg has become a high profile angler with an extensive multi-media profile. He has considerable experience with local management committees and a detailed understanding of current fisheries issues.

Mrs Vicki Lear

Mrs Vicki Lear is a keen competitive angler and has an in depth working knowledge that spans across the angling spectrum, from trout and freshwater native species through estuarine and ocean sport fishing, to game fishing. She is also a major contributor to an online fishing blog (, has written for various fishing publications and has been an active member for numerous fishing clubs. Vicki has a successful business career in the real estate sector and is an excellent communicator.

Region 5 - South Coast

Mrs Jo Starling

Mrs Jo Starling is an avid and well-travelled angler, enjoying all forms of recreational fishing from freshwater to salt, bait to fly, shore to boat. She has fished competitively since 2004, in tournaments all over the country, as well as once in Timor Leste!

Jo has had a distinguished career in the advertising industry and as a co-director of an iconic Australian fishing info-tainment business, operating in both the traditional and online spaces.

She possesses strong communication and negotiation skills and is a strong advocate for women’s fishing, whilst also having a deep understanding of fisheries issues more generally. She also sits on the Batemans Marine Park Advisory Committee and is a member of the Tuross Head Fishing Club.

Jo has a strong track record in the media, promoting fishing and related industries. Her articles have been published in NAFA, Barra Bass & Bream, FishLife Magazine, Australian Travelling Angler, Modern Fishing and various international fishing websites.

Mr Max Castle

Mr Max Castle is a former member of the NSW Police Service and is a very experienced recreational fisher, especially fishing estuaries, inshore and beaches along the coast and inland rivers and impoundments. Max has a broad understanding of fisheries issues and was a member of the previous Advisory Council on Recreational Fishing. He is particularly concerned about losing fishing access. Max has been involved with organising fishing competitions for many years and initiated the annual Lake Lyell catch and release ANSA convention. Max is a past President and Life Member of Sea Bees Boating Club; Secretary of the Tuross Head Fishing Club; Vice President and Public Officer of the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW; Angel Ring contact for ANSA on the South Coast; and a Recfish board member.

Region 6 - North West Inland

Mr Matt Hansen

Mr Matt Hansen has fostered a career both in the property sector and in the recreational fishing industry. As a fishing journalist with numerous publications, in both newspapers and magazines, Matt engages with thousands of anglers across Inland NSW. He has highly developed communication skills and has a strong understanding of fisheries issues. Matt is the President and Co-Founder of the Inland Waterways Rejuvenation Association (IWRA) - working to make healthy waterways for better fishing and a better future. Matt is also President of the not for profit Lake Burrendong Classic fishing competition, which saw a crowd of almost 3,000 people in attendance in 2016. Through running seven consecutive fund raising competitions, he gets to engage and communicate with thousands of recreational fishers who attend the event from right across Australia, and works to pass on messages of sustainable fishing practices. Matt’s volunteer group, the IWRA, have raised around half a million dollars through various community fund raising activities, and have used the funds for projects such as resnagging, riparian replenishment and restocking. Their latest project on the Macquarie River saw around 120 large hard wood snags installed across three local government areas to create breeding opportunities for native fish. Matt was also named as the Australian Fish Habitat Hero at the National Recreational Fishing Conference held on the Gold Coast in 2015. Matt aims to empower and encourage other recreational fishing groups right across Australia to become self-sustaining entities, capable of raising significant funds to better their local fisheries.

Region 7 - South West Inland

Mr Karl Mathers

Mr Karl Mathers has had a long and distinguished career as a water and natural resource management consultant. He has knowledge of and a strong commitment to, fisheries, environmental and indigenous issues with proven communication and negotiation skills. Karl possesses a high level of awareness and working knowledge of state and Commonwealth legislation, particularly related to the environment and natural resources.

Region 8 - Central & Southern Tablelands

Mr Steve Samuels

Mr Steve Samuels is a retired fishing guide and former member of the Australian Federal Police. Steve devotes the majority of his time to fishing across a range of environments and pursuits on behalf of the NSW recreational fishing sector. He is President of the Monaro Acclimatisation Society; Vice President (past President) of the NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers Inc.; current (and foundation) member of both the Snowy Lakes Strategy Working Group and Gaden Trout Hatchery Management Committee; and a member of the National Fish Habitat Strategy. He has a Master’s degree in Education, highly developed communication skills and has written extensively as a fishing Journalist. Steve has a comprehensive knowledge of recreational fishing issues and demonstrated ability to develop and maintain effective stakeholder engagement.

Mr Ray Tang

Mr Ray Tang is a part time professional trout fishing guide and has a career in electrical trades. He has been an avid fly fisher in the Central Tablelands region for over 25 years. Ray has a strong knowledge of recreational fishing issues and vast experience with recreational fishing access, fish stocking and aquatic habitat issues, including, for example, improving access for the disabled to Thomson’s Creek Dam and assisting DPI’s Aquatic Biosecurity Unit with the noxious pest (Redfin) control program. Ray is an excellent communicator with a broad range of stakeholders and is a member of numerous community and fisheries committees concerned with access, stocking and habitat issues e.g. member of the Central Acclimatisation Society’s Committee of Management; NSW Council of Freshwater Anglers Inc. (CFA); CFA delegate to the Fish Habitat Network; and Central Coast Fly Rodders.

Charter Boat Fishing

Mr Vic Levett

Mr Vic Levett is a charter fishing business owner/operator who focuses on teaching his clients sustainable fishing practices. He is also a qualified plumber. Vic has fished throughout Australia and around the world over the past 50 years and was the Australian Game Fishing Tag and Release Champion in 2001. He also has considerable experience assisting with fisheries research programs relating to acoustic/satellite tagging, mulloway tagging and artificial reefs. He has proven to be a strong advocate for informed decision making for natural resource management, including resource sharing, recreational fishing havens and sustainable fishing. He has published material in Modern Fishing, Fishing World and Blue Water magazines. Vic is a current member and former Angling Chairman of Sydney Game Fishing Club.

Spear Fishing

Mr Matt Poulton

Mr Matt Poulton has a career in maritime construction and professional diving. Matt holds Master Class V vessel qualifications and is an experienced spearfishing guide. He successfully participated in the Future Leaders Recreational Fishing Program. Matt is a member and current committee representative of the Recreational Fishing Alliance of NSW; member of Mosman Whalers Spearfishing Club (past President); and Executive member of the Underwater Skindivers and Fisherman’s Association. Matt has extensive practical experience in, and knowledge of, general fishery matters as well as specific environmental, spearfishing and diver safety issues.

Nominee of Secretary

Mr Peter Turnell, DPI

Mr Peter (Pete) Turnell is the Group Director Recreational and Indigenous Fisheries, NSW DPI, based in Nowra. Pete has extensive fisheries experience, particularly relating to aquatic resource management and fisheries compliance. He is a keen outdoorsman who enjoys camping and fishing. Pete also regularly gets out in his boat for some estuary and inshore fishing and recently started kayak fishing, particularly for bass.

RFNSW regions map

Outcomes of RFNSW meetings