The Blue Whale Study (BWS) is a not-for-profit incorporated association and charitable research and education institution registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission. BWS is also an Approved Research Institute (ARI) endorsed by CSIRO.
As an incorporated association we are required to have a management committee whose role is to oversee Blue Whale Study’s management and administration. As an ARI we are required to have a Scientific Committee whose legal role is to ensure that we work we carry out is scientific in nature and is of value to Australia, and that funds dedicated to research are properly accounted for. Under our Constitution the BWS Committee fulfils both roles. The Committee meets on a quarterly basis, with an annual AGM being held toward the end of each year.
Blue Whale Study’s five-member Research Committee has a vast wealth of knowledge and expertise in disciplines spanning marketing and communications, business management and planning, pest animal management, marine ecology and geology, environmental law and conflict resolution, and commercial fisheries. This robust, cross-disciplinary mix ensures that Blue Whale Study’s delivery of research and education remains relevant, focused and internationally recognised.
The Committee’s shared passion for the marine environment, and for the Blue Whale Study’s endeavours, provides strong motivation and a determination to ensure this vital research is continued.
The Committee has five members, each of whom brings varying expertise to the Committee ranging from scientific research, legal and planning, and business administration.
Our current Committee members are:
Susie Lyons (Chairperson)
Susie is a marketing and communications expert with over 25 years’ experience in a broad range of disciplines at business management level – media and journalism, public relations and event management, fundraising and sponsorship development, and arts management.
Her interest in the marine environment was piqued when she joined an Antarctic tourist expedition. She is passionate about supporting critical environmental science research and education.
Susie has worked in all levels of government and is currently employed as a manager in local government in regional Victoria.
A proficient linguist – Spanish, Portuguese, Mandarin Chinese – she is adept at cross cultural communication and enjoys fostering the development of skills in others at a local community level.
She holds a Bachelor of Arts (Honours), a Graduate Diploma in Communications and Certificate IV in Governance.
Dr Pete Gill became involved in whale research and deepwater sailing in 1983 after several years as a rural worker in the Australian bush. For numerous years Pete assisted Dr Bill Dawbin, the ‘grandfather’ of humpback whale research before branching out into his own to study humpback migration. These studies took him to the waters around the Coral Sea, New Caledonia and the coast of Tasmania.
Dr Brad Page (Marine Scientific Advisor)
Brad’s current role with the Department of Primary Industries and Regions SA involves leading a team of policy and research staff who work with state and federal government agencies, Natural Resource Management boards and industry groups to provide technical and policy advice on the economic and environmental impacts and management of pest animals, including wild dogs, rabbits and deer.
Prior to this, Brad worked for the SA Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources for 5 years, implementing its strategic science agenda and providing technical leadership for South Australia’s marine parks monitoring program and other state-wide programs. Brad initially undertook research in the field of marine biology for 15 years, specialising in the ecological effects of commercial fisheries and their interactions with protected species.
During this phase, Brad completed his PhD at LaTrobe University and worked with SA Research and Development Institute – Aquatic Sciences for 10 years.
Dr Andrew Levings (Marine Scientific Advisor)
Dr Andrew Levings has a lifetime interest in fishing, geology and the marine environment and has worked extensively as a commercial fisherman, diver and marine researcher. A graduate in Applied Geology and Community Studies with a PhD in Marine Science, his multiple academic and trade skills provide a unique interface and a record of good outcomes for the diverse groups interested in marine species and offshore activity.
Chris Loorham (Legal and Planning Advisor)
Chris Loorham B.Juris, LLB, MSS. is a planning consultant based in Port Fairy. He has a background in environmental law including heading up the Environment Defenders Office in Victoria from ‘92 to ‘98 and lecturing in Environmental Law at the Australian Maritime College and Victoria University.
We would also like to remember our most recent Committee member, Louise Sheba, who died in February 2017. Louise’s dedication, kindness, enthusiasm and business acumen helped to shape and form our operations, particularly our donor recognition and community participation. Thank you Louise.