OceanWatch Australia’s voluntary directors guide the organisation’s strategic direction and oversee governance.
Our current directors bring with them a wealth of experience and expertise in areas including executive management/leadership in the seafood industry; natural resource management policy and practice at regional and national scales; environmental sciences, especially relating to fisheries and aquaculture communications, media relations and marketing; public policy and management of government-industry relations fisheries research, development and extension; natural resource economics and social sciences; financial management; Indigenous fishing; corporate governance.
Claire Webber - Deputy Chair
Researcher - Australian Southern Bluefin Tuna Association
Claire is an OceanWatch director since 2016. She has professional qualifications in marine resource management and aquaculture and has experience working with science, government and industry. She is a graduate of the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program 2012 and the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Craig Aspinall - Director
NSW Community Landcare Aboriginal Engagement Officer
Craig is an OceanWatch director since 2005. He is an Aboriginal man from the Birpai nation on the lower north coast of NSW who has devoted his private and working life to the natural and cultural values associated with land and sea country. He holds several university and VET qualifications and is a graduate of the Australian Institute of Company Directors.
Doug Ferrell - Director
Fisheries Science and Management
Doug has been an OceanWatch director since 2012. He grew up and studied marine ecology in the Pacific northwest of the USA. He has worked in fisheries ecology and fisheries assessment for two decades and spent a further decade working in fisheries management for the NSW government. He is now retired but professionally active.
Geoff Blackburn - Chairman
Geoff is a director since 2003. He has been a professional fisher since 1977. He is a director of NSW Catcher's Trust, Coffs Harbour Fisherman's Co-op and the Professional Fisherman's Association. Geoff is a graduate of the National Seafood Industry Leadership Program 2004 and is a strong advocate for building a better future for Australian seafood by strengthening partnerships with the government, resource managers, businesses and local communities.
Robert Gauta - Director
Manager, Commercial Fishermans' Cooperative, Newcastle
Robert is an OceanWatch director since 2014. He is a former professional fisherman who has formal qualifications in business, and is the General Manager of the Commercial Fisherman's Co-op. He is currently a director of the Federation of NSW Co-operatives.
George Apostolakis - Director
Business Owner- M&G Seafoods
George has been an OceanWatch director since 2020. He has been involved in the seafood industry since 1992 focusing primarily on the supply chain of seafood from farmers and fishers to end users. George commenced employment with M&G Seafoods Wholesalers in 1992. At around the same time M&G purchased Marine Foods within the market auction hall. M&G Seafoods Wholesalers is a family business that was established in 1969. George was appointed to the Sydney Fish Market Board of Directors in 2016.
Kerry Strangas - Rep. Director
Master Fish Merchants' Association of Australia
Kerry has been a Sydney-based seafood retailer since 1975 and Chairman of the Master Fish Merchants’ Association of Australia since 2005. He is also a Director of the NSW Fishing Industry Training Council, and a representative on the FRDC Fish Names Committee and NSW Food Authority Seafood Industry Forum
Lawrie McEnally - Director
Chair NSW Fishermens' Cooperative Association
Lawrie was a professional fisher for 14 years, and a fishing charter boat owner for 10 years. He has published 17 books on the outdoors, fishing and boating, along with 1500 magazine articiles. He is currently the chair of the Macleay River Fisherman's Co-op and the Macleay Fisherman's Co-op Association as well as a director of the NSW Seafood Industry Council.
Renee Vajtauer - Director
Business Owner - The Fish Shoppe
Renee is an OceanWatch director since 2019. She is an Industry association executive with a demonstrated history of working in the fishery sector. She holds her MBA and Bachelor of Marine and Freshwater Biology. Renee also sits on the FRDC Fish Names Committee.