THE international aquaculture industry united digitally recently for the much-anticipated results of the 2020 Aquaculture Awards.

The awards, recognise and reward the excellence that is vital to the continuing development of a sustainable worldwide aquaculture industry – highlighting the impressive array of talents, achievements, and technical innovations on offer within this fast-growing sector.  Although there was no physical ceremony this year due to the UK’s ongoing COVID-19 restrictions, there was plenty of celebration to go round with a record 14 winners announced for 2020.

Award highlights included: Offshore Shellfish – creators of the UK’s first fully offshore mussel farm off the south Devon coast, being named Best Aquaculture Company; Amy Novogratz, co-founder and head of Dutch sustainable aquaculture-focused investment fund Aqua-Spark, receiving the ‘Outstanding contribution to the industry’ award; and Scottish Sea Farms’ Noelia Rodriguez and Offshore Shellfish’s George Holmyard being awarded Finfish farmer of the year and Shellfish farmer of the year respectively.  French biotechnology company InnovaFeed, known for its pioneering work producing sustainable feed for aquaculture based on insect proteins, triumphed in two categories – winning both the ‘Environmental impact’ award and this year’s People’s Choice Award (the latter was decided by popular vote).

Other award recipients included Benchmark Genetics/StofnFiskur, The Scottish Salmon Company, Scottish Sea Farms, Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group, and The Global Salmon Initiative, plus individuals from RSPCA Assured, Imoran Farms, and Karatina University.

‘Standing out from the crowd is no mean feat in such an innovative and dedicated industry, but our 2020 winners do just that,’ said Cheri Arvonio, event director at Diversified Communications UK (new owner of the Awards and the Aquaculture UK show).

‘Big thanks must go to our judges and sponsors for their continued support.  And congratulations again to each of our fantastic winners – you really are the very best in the business.  We would have loved to have celebrated with you all in person but unfortunately it just wasn’t possible this year.  We’re already looking ahead to May 2021, when we can get together again at our industry show Aquaculture UK.’

The Aquaculture Awards 2020 winners were:-

Finfish farmer of the year – sponsored by Gael Force Group
Noelia Rodriguez, hatchery manager for Scottish Sea Farms (UK)

Shellfish farmer of the year – sponsored by M&S Select Farms
George Holmyard, manager of Offshore Shellfish (UK)

Outstanding contribution to the industry – sponsored by Marine Scotland
Amy Novogratz, co-founder and head of Aqua-Spark (Netherlands)

Environmental impact – sponsored by Cargill
InnovaFeed – insect protein producer (France)

Aquaculture supplier of the year – sponsored by Stingray
Benchmark Genetics/StofnFiskur (Iceland)

Community initiative – sponsored by Diversified Communications UK
The Scottish Salmon Company – Outer Hebrides Local Energy Hub (OHLEH Project) (UK)

Economic sustainability – sponsored by BioMar
Scottish Sea Farms – Eday Employee Housing in Scotland (UK)

Animal welfare – sponsored by MSD Animal Health
John Avizienius and Malcolm Johnstone, RSPCA Assured (UK)

Innovation – sponsored by the Scottish Aquaculture Innovation Centre
Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group – novel packaging solution (UK)

Rising star – sponsored by AILG Skills Group
Funke Olatunde, Imoran Farms (Nigeria)

Unsung hero – sponsored by Diversified Communications UK
Professor Charles Ngugi, Karatina University (Kenya)

Collaboration – sponsored by the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture
The Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) (UK)

Best Aquaculture Company – sponsored by Crown Estate Scotland
Offshore Shellfish (UK)

People’s Choice Award – sponsored by Sølvtrans
InnovaFeed – insect protein producer (France)

This year’s judging panel was made up of leading industry professionals, including: Alex Adrian, aquaculture operations manager of Crown Estate Scotland; Martin Gill, head of aquaculture and fisheries at Lloyds Register; Nicki Holmyard, director of Offshore Shellfish; Professor Dave Little, head of research at University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture; Ingrid Olesen, senior scientist at Nofima; and The Fish Site’s Rob Fletcher.

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