Development Education Capacity Knowledge (DECK) Program 2021

WRL continues its commitment to the education and professional development for industry’s next generation of leaders.


This month WRL conducted its third edition of the annual DECK Program, the interactive industry forum designed to deliver quality professional development and learning opportunities for industry’s next generation of leaders.

The event was held from midday on Wednesday 13th to midday Thursday 14th of October at Little Creatures’ Sonar Room in Fremantle.

The 18 participants began their two-day exploration of lobster science, management, business and marketing with a welcome by WRL chairman, Terry Lissiman.


WRL is proud to have brought together such a great group of experts from diverse backgrounds and experiences to share their knowledge and perspectives around key topics ranging from industry leadership and marketing strategies, science and research, to business structure and succession planning.


Peter J. Fitzpatrick provided an overview of the role of a Director and the Board, giving the participants a good understanding of the fundamentals of governance and directorship.


The DECK program focuses primarily on developing leadership amongst younger participants in the western rock lobster industry by observing and learning from more experienced leaders.


David Carter, Austral Fisheries CEO, shared his professional experience and insights on implementing sustainable practices.


This year we welcomed 18 participants from up and down the coast as well as current industry professionals and subject-matter experts who participate in the program to foster peer-to-peer exchange.

Nathan Maxwell-McGinn, Chair of STAG, provided an update on Australian Rock Lobster: Market Diversification Options.


A highlight of the forum was the attendance of Hon Don Punch MLA, Minister for Fisheries, and Ralph Addis, Director General for DPIRD, who joined us for the DECK group dinner on Wednesday evening. This was a rare opportunity that allowed DECK participants to meet the Minister and Director General in an intimate and relaxed context. “Best of all (was) to associate with the people who run the industry: Minister, Director of fisheries and WRL directors. I feel I would have the confidence to approach any with an issue or query.”, said Stephen Weldon, one of the participants who came all the way down from Geraldton to attend the forum with his brother and sons.

Hon Don Punch MLA, Minister for Fisheries, provided an excellent speech that was well received by the audience.


Overall, the feedback received was extremely positive, with 100 per cent of participants saying they would recommend the DECK Program to others, and all of them affirming they were very or extremely likely to attend a similar event again in the future.

Roberto Fernandes, one of the participants from Fremantle, commented that “It was a great experience and fully recommend to anyone not just for young people should be for anyone who has an interest in coming and learning something new“.

The DECK Program also fostered new relationships and networks including through a relaxing dinner held between the two half-day sessions at the Deck at Little Creatures.



WRL plans to offer the next DECK Program in Geraldton on Tuesday 11th and Wednesday 12th of October 2022.

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