Executive & Committee 2020

President: Mr Paul Van der Werf

Paul is an Integrated Aquaculture Engineer.

Director of Earthan Group Pty Ltd and currently working with Murray Cod Australia Ltd, Griffith, NSW as their Development and Research Manager.

Thank you to all the members for the vote of confidence. I look forward to contributing to the greater good of aquaculture in NSW and the wider Australian industry.

Vice President: Mr John Townsend

John has 35 years experience in earthmoving, Aquaculture, refrigerated road transport, and science industries.

With the world demanding sustainable protein and Aquaculture growing at 10 % a year bodes well for the industry. With the world’s population predicted to reach 9.8 billion by the year 2050 our greatest challenge in keeping up with the demand for sustainable high quality protein is matching the skill set to manage the high production systems. The Aqua Association's role is to drive education and disseminate the information to support the supply chain from farm to plate.

Secretary/Treasurer: Mr Robert B McCormack.    Email:

Robert McCormack is the Research and Aquaculture Director for Australian Aquatic Biological P/L (AABio), Port Stephens, NSW, an Australian company that conducts aquatic research with a priority on conservation. They also conduct aquaculture research and provide Aquaculture consultancy to the industry. The AABio group of companies includes RBM Aquaculture and Mid West Yabby and Fish Traders for which Robert is a Director of both.

Rob is a Research Associate with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, USA; Honorary Research Fellow with the Queensland Museum; amateur Taxonomist; and the team leader of the privately funded Australian Crayfish Project, which conducts biological studies of every creek and stream in Australia, collecting and identifying crustaceans. Robert has a passion for freshwater crayfish traveling across Australia to find and photograph them; he has published over 15 scientific papers describing new species or the conservation of species in peer reviewed international journals and is the author of 8 books on aquaculture and freshwater crayfish.

Chief Technology Officer: Mr Shaun Scott

Shaun Scott from Wollombi Garden & Seafood provides decades of experience in the computer industry. Shaun ran an active farm dealing with Australian Aquaponics, Aquaculture, Apiary Honey Bee and Horticulture.

Shaun supports the industry association with his extensive experience with technology and his committee role with policy and advocacy projects.

Event Co-ordinator & Media Representative: Mr Chris Young.   

Chris Young has been involved in Aquaculture projects for 35 years mainly private farm developments.
His interest started with Silver Perch , Bass and Crayfish in dams and closed systems in warehouse situations he owned .
As the current event co-ordinator & Media officer for the Aqua Association he has travelled the globe recording and seeking out new innovative Aquaculture projects & systems.

Chris is the Managing Director of Craton Pty Ltd, a multi – disciplined investment company with holdings in several states in Australia .Chris also has been involved with (AEA ) Aquatic Engineering Australia for 12 years as service engineer, dealing with the construction and ongoing service of complex industrial Water & Waste Water treatment plants as well as heading up the AEA / Craton joint venture on Aquaculture Systems & development of rural production holdings.

Chris has extensive commercial business experience and has been a lobbyist & board member and President for several industry associations that covered Property ownership , Health companies and licenced sporting clubs in NSW .

Committee Members

Russell Sydenham (Hanging Rock, NSW)

With a business and marketing background, I developed an interest in aquaculture some fifteen years ago and invested in the industry more than ten years ago. I own Arc-en-Ciel Trout Farm at Hanging Rock which is on the southern tip of the Northern Tablelands. I am one of two industry representatives of land based farmers on the NSW DPI’s Aquaculture Research Advisory Committee.


Sue Singleton (Strathalbyn NSW)

After working for many years in secretarial, administration and teaching roles, I returned to study Science at the University of Newcastle and University of New England, and attained a degree in Sustainable Resource Management and a Graduate Diploma in Humanities/Archaeology .  In the nearly twenty years since, I have been practising as an archaeologist/heritage consultant.  During the last ten years I have been managing my own small business consultancy, Eureka Heritage, and work mostly across regional New South Wales.

With my husband Phill, we are in the process of establishing Kingfisher Aquaculture on our property Strathalbyn in the granite country of the Northern Tablelands.  Seeking a more sustainable enterprise for a smaller holding than running traditional stock, we purchased our new property with the express objective of re-developing it for Aquaculture.  The drought has slowed our plans but we hope the coming year will see our development progress.  I have been a member of the assocation for the past two years and have attended two of the workshops while continuing to research and plan, but we have not yet given up our day jobs!

My background and some interests include: Administration, Environmental Science, Environmental Education, voluntary roles with local museums in museum and collection management, and with peak body Museums Australia, historical farming practices and lifeways, and we have over a decade of experience running a small holding.  Other interests are kayaking, fresh water fishing, and deep-sea fishing.