Murray Criddle (Chair)
Born and raised in Geraldton and the Mid West, Murray has maintained a life-long connection with primary industries and life in WA’s regional centres and has been a strong advocate for regional matters in business and politics.
After three decades of farming, Murray saw an opportunity to support regional communities and expanded his calling into politics where he could help influence the decision-making process for regional development and increase opportunities for regional communities and businesses.
During his 15 years as a National Party Parliamentary Member, Murray’s decision making was guided by his personal understanding of the needs of country people and stemmed from his own experiences, and those of family and friends, as they dealt with the unique challenges and hardships of living in isolated and remote centres.
While stimulating regional businesses was always important, it was not Murray’s only objective, and he has always been an outspoken advocate for improving broader community outcomes such as health, communication, education, transport, families and other services.
More recently Murray chaired the MidWest Regional Development Commission where he oversaw a number of major projects that continue to bring significant opportunities and funding into the region.
Murray is proud to have been a major driver for the development of the Horrocks Community Centre, which has grown from an idea generated among the sandhills into a thriving community centre.
Outside of work, Murray is an avid sports fan with a particular passion for AFL and cricket.
Murray joined the WAFIC Board as Chairman in 2020.
Adam Radford (Vice-Chair)
Adam Radford, a Western Rock Lobster industry member from Cervantes, grew up in a commercial fishing family and will take to the peak body a wealth of industry experience, as well as his finance and commerce background.
He was appointed as a Board Member of WAFIC in 2019.
Mr Haygarth has been heavily involved in the development of the octopus fishery in Western Australia.
He was appointed as a Board Member of WAFIC in 2018 and is a member of WAFIC’s Building Community Support (BCS) Sub-Committee.
After completing a B.Sc. degree at the University of Sydney, Dr. Gary Morgan began his professional career in Western Australia, working as a researcher with the Department of Fisheries. He was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Western Australia for this research on the stock assessment and management of the western rock lobster. In the 1980s, he left Australia to work in international fisheries and aquaculture issues, including with the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO), the European Commission, the International Fund for Agriculture Development (IFAD) and national Governments in Asia, Europe, East Africa, the Middle East and the Caribbean. This work included developing, in collaboration with the fishing industry and Governments, long term national fisheries and aquaculture strategies for a number of countries.
He returned to Australia in the mid-1990s and was appointed as Director of Fisheries for South Australia, a position he held until 2001. He then purchased the ex-WA Fisheries Department Research Vessel (M.V. Flinders) and used this to undertake the first comprehensive survey of fisheries resources in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman.
Returning to Adelaide, and with his knowledge and experience of fisheries science, fisheries management and fishing industry operations, he was appointed Chairman of the Board and Council of Wildcatch Fisheries SA, the peak commercial fishing industry body in South Australia.
There then followed an appointment as Chairman of the Board and the R&D Committee for Southern Rock Lobster Ltd, the national R&D and industry development organisation (Tasmania, South Australia and Victoria) for the Australian southern rock lobster industry. This involved strategic planning for the industry, market and trade access issues and supply chain innovation.
Dr. Morgan has continued his involvement in international fisheries issues, most recently (2015-18) by being appointed to the EU Maritime Affairs Commission with responsibility for Sustainability and Global Ocean Governance as well as his current responsibilities for advising the UN’s South Pacific Fisheries Management Organization on exploratory fishing for deep water lobsters off the coast of Peru. He also advises the Falkland Islands fishing industry and the British/Falklands Island Governments on fisheries development planning.
In addition to his Doctorate in Fisheries Science, Dr. Morgan also was awarded a Diploma in Senior Executive Management by Monash University and has extensive Board experience, both in Australia and internationally.
He is also the author of 3 books and 62 scientific and technical papers on fish stock assessment, fish resources allocation, marine environmental management and development policy and fisheries management.
Wayne is passionate about communities and the people who live and work in them. He has spent his career working for them, both individually and collectively, on both the east and west coasts, across all spheres of government, to improve their economies, environments and general wellbeing.
Experienced in policy development and advocacy, he knows government process at all levels and how to get a message across to the intended audience. More importantly though, he knows how to listen and make sure that important messages aren’t lost in the big noise that often accompanies passionate debate.
With a Degree in Business and postgraduate qualifications in Regional Development, his working life has seen him in a wide range of roles, from casual labourer to CEO and most things in between.
He has travelled extensively throughout Australia and occasionally in Europe, America and Asia.
He loves cycling, guitars and the Essendon Football Club.
Paul Catalano brings a wealth of practical expertise in post-harvest processing, international markets, supermarket drivers and direct retail.
As business development manager of the Catalano Seafood business, he has working relationships across all facets of the supply chain
Over and above creating the Catalano Seafoods retail division, he has developed a dedicated toll-processing hub division which facilitates a link to market for fishing and aquaculture companies by providing integrated services of R&D, consulting, processing, packaging, and market connections.
Paul has 50 years’ experience to his credit, adapting, and diversifying to changing markets.
He has a honed bird’s eye view of the successes, deficiencies, challenges, and most importantly, opportunities for our industry.
He is an advocate for an “inclusive” W.A.F.I.C. that engages with whole of industry, in particular, the consumer, who’s choices determine both industry and oceanic sustainability.
Manue has been heavily involved in the commercial fishing industry for 13 years, mainly around Esperance, however her different roles within the industry have provided her an extensive knowledge across the State and other regions.
Manue is actively involved in the administration and land-based activities of the family’s wild catch fishing business and was the recipient of the Young Achiever of the Year at the recent WA Seafood Industry Awards.
A passionate advocate for the industry, Manue is currently Vice President of the Esperance Professional Fishermen’s Association Vice President; is a member of Women in Seafood Australia (WISA); and is the former vice chair of Southern Seafood Producers WA’s management committee.
Matt Benson-Lidholm JP
Matt Benson-Lidholm comes to the WAFIC Board as an experienced administrator and professional, having served as a Director with several Western Australian and national organisations over many years
As a Member of the Western Australian Legislative Council, Matt previously represented the Southwest, Southern coastal and Mid-West regions. As a State MP he worked closely with commercial fishing interests anywhere from Kalbarri to Bremer Bay. In 2009 he was appointed Deputy President and Chair of Committees in the State’s Upper House.
In 2008 Matt was appointed Parliamentary Chair of the FRMA Review. His industry knowledge, coupled with extended family involvement in south coast professional fishing over many years, positioned him well to chair the review for the Minister for Fisheries.
Currently Matt Benson-Lidholm is Chair of Southern Seafood Producers (WA) Association. SSPWA was established in 2018 on the recommendation of WAFIC Chair, Hon Kim Chance (dec) and Dr Peter Rogers. The intention being to better represent the interests of heritage fishers, operating principally between Fremantle and Eucla. The SSPWA Board is particularly active in supporting the operations and welfare of its members, especially in challenging times.
The increasing government focus on promoting south coast marine parks is also a big concern for Matt, as is the growing incidence of mental health problems in the commercial fishing sector. Under Matt’s chairmanship, the SSPWA Board has been particularly proactive in addressing the mental health concerns of its members through the Stay Afloat regional community resilience programme.
Apart from his direct involvement with both WAFIC and SSPWA, Matt also is a JP, regional development consultant, registered State Government lobbyist, Albany City Councillor and Board member (Treasurer) with RDA Great Southern.
James Brown’s family has been in the pearling industry since 1946 and he was raised on the farm at Cygnet Bay, 200 kilometres north of Broome on the tip of the Dampier Peninsula. James has always loved being on or in the water, and is constantly grateful to work in an industry that keeps him close to the ocean.
After attending primary school at Cygnet Bay Pearl Farm public school (10 kids) and high school boarding in Perth, James studied a Marine Science degree at James Cook University in Townsville. After completing his degree, he returned to pearling full time and spent many years working in all aspects of the industry.
The desire to have an impact in his local community led him to working in regional development as a board member, and finally Chair of the Kimberley Development Commission. That direct involvement in DPIRD was an eye-opener in many ways but gave him a sound understanding of State Government and DPIRD directly.
James’s family has been involved in every stage of the cultured pearling industry and is actively involved in most aspects of the industry’s development, which began in the late 1950’s. During that time, they have experienced numerous highs and lows, but overall the industry has been very good to them and they remain completely committed to its ongoing development.
It’s well known to WAFIC members that the past decade has been extremely challenging for the pearling industry, and unfortunately we have lost many companies and hundreds of skilled mariners from our workforce. This downturn has been enormously challenging to navigate, both professionally and personally, but as with all difficult things in life it has taught James a lot and given him a new perspective on industry fundamentals, business resilience, and the need to constantly adapt and evolve.
Like most fishermen James is community minded and enjoys the opportunity to contribute to the community through a variety of programs and organisations with whom he collaborates, and he has a genuine belief in the importance of a healthy commercial fishing industry.
James was appointed as a WAFIC Board Member in 2022.