Board of Directors

Board of Directors


Arno Verboon - Chairman


Initially a steel boat builder by trade, Arno went on to carve a career in the Northern Prawn fishery starting on the deck and working his way up to become General Manager of A. Raptis & Sons, Australia's largest Trawl Fleet operator. Prior to that he was Fleet master for KFV Fisheries (now WA based Austral Fisheries) and also led that companies operations in the Middle East.

Additionally, he held the General Manager's role at Batavia Coast Fisheries in the Western Rock Lobster Fishery, a well as heading up Geraldton Fishermen's Co-op expansion south in 2002.

Currently, he is the General Manger of Fremantle Octopus P/L and has successfully established that product and brand as the premium octopus product both domestically and internationally.

Arno is passionate about the betterment of the marine foods business in Western Australia.


Clayton Nelson - Vice Chairman

Clayton has been involved in the fishing industry since 1980. Primarily involved in the Northern Prawn Fishery and the North West Shelf Trawl fishery he was an executive director of Deep Sea Fisheries Ltd and the Tiger Fisheries Group of companies.

Clayton is now the principle of Jamaclan Marine Services. Jamaclan provides consultancy services to both State and Commonwealth fishing companies. Clayton is also a director of One Sea Pty Ltd, a Fremantle based fishing company.


Bruce Cockman - Director


Bruce has been involved with fishing his whole life and has skippered a lobster boat in b zone for the past 25 years and with the change of the lobster fishery to quota now fishes A and B zone. 


Bruce is also involved in the west coast shark fishery and the wet line fishery and has also fished in the Shark Bay Snapper, shark bay blue swimmer crab and deep sea crab fisheries.
Bruce is currently the president of the Dongara PFA.


Damien Bell – Director


Damien has extensive experience across a range of WA commercial fishing and aquaculture industries including the Western Rock Lobster industry, pearl  and aquaculture production, mussel farming and currently owns and operates a license in the West Coast Estuarine Fishery of the Peel-Harvey Estuary.


In addition to his commercial fishing industry experience, Damien has also worked as a Marine and Aquaculture Workplace Training and Assessor for the Central West College of TAFE, Aquaculture Liaison Officer for the Department of Fisheries and provided assistance in the initial marine environment review and assessment for the Gorgon Project. 


Currently, Damien is the President of the Mandurah Licensed Fishermen's Association (MLFA), which has taken proactive measures to ensure the long-term sustainability of their fishery and the future security of its members and their families.  Damien is also working with Gascoyne Dermersal Fishery (Shark Bay Snapper) acting as a liaison between quota owners, fisherman, retailers and the government to develop new markets for their product and increase productivity for their fishery.


George Kailis - Director


George Kailis is Professor of Management at the School of Business at the University of Notre Dame Australia. Professor Kailis holds qualifications in law and management and has had extensive industry, government and community experience. He was Managing Director of the M.G. Kailis Group one of Australia’s largest fishing and aquaculture businesses from 1992-1999. 

Special interests are held in the areas of the environment, fisheries management and strategy. Professor Kailis has been a Director of both the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority. Ongoing positions held by Professor Kailis include directorship of the M.G. Kailis Group and the Australian National Centre for Oceans and Resource Security.

Kerry Rowe - Director


Kym Coffey - Director


Kym has experience with a diverse range of commercial fishing, pearling and aquaculture industries in Western Australia and the Northern Territory, particularly in respect of fisheries management, policy, resource access and multi-user marine areas.  


Kym works for the Paspaley Pearls Group, the largest producer of Australian South Sea pearls and one of the world’s only vertically integrated south sea pearling operations. In addition to pearling, Kym’s work extends to other areas within the Group, in Australia and overseas, and includes aviation, retail, marketing, rural industries and intellectual property.


She has a background and specialist expertise in negotiation, native title and indigenous agreements.


 Nic Sofoulis - Director

Nic has been involved in the lobster and wet line fishing industry for 43 years and operates out of Ledge Point. His experience includes: office bearer in the local PFA (Latitude 31): a board member for the Western Rock Lobster Counci; (WRLC): Executive Officer of WRLC and he is currently Executive Officer of Combined Zone C Association.

Nic's roles have included liaison with Minister for Fisheries, providing consultation to industry on behalf of the Department of Fisheries and the Minister and industry liaison person with Marine Division of the Department of Transport. He has a Bachelor and Masters Degree in Science.



John Hutton - Director


John is currently a shareholder and director of Marine Produce Australia Ltd, an ASX listed company involved in barramundi aquaculture at Cone Bay in the Kimberley region. This venture is Western Australia’s most significant seafood aquaculture project.


John is a member of WAFIC’s Audit Committee and a member of the Pearl Producers’ Association. John chairs the recently appointed Ministerial Working Group on water lease fees.