The big winner at New Zealand’s Seafood Sustainability Awards was a man who has spent almost twenty years working to protect seabirds and marine mammals in the commercial fishing industry.
The awards, held for the first time at parliament, were hosted by Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash who said the industry has committed and positive leaders.
The Awards were attended by commercial and recreational fishermen, as well as environmental NGOs, science providers and government agencies.
The winner of the Kaitiakitanga Award and also winner of the Supreme Sustainability Award was Richard Wells of Resourcewise who has been heavily involved in reducing the risk to protected species since 2005.
Winner of the Operational Innovation Award was the CRA8 Lobster Industry Association that has developed fisheries and environmental management plans that have maintained high stocks abundance while maximising economic returns in the Fiordland Marine Area.
The Lee Fish Award for Market Innovation and Value-Added was won by The New Zealand King Salmon Company and they were recognised for world-leading waste minimisation, work on plastics and the development of their own environmental certification programme.
The Emerging Leader Award was taken away by Nate Smith of Gravity Fishing, a company that fishes to order, only sells whole fish and has 100% traceability and transparency.
The Minister of Fisheries Award, which recognises those who have made a continuous outstanding contribution to the sustainability of the seafood sector was won by Rosemary Hurst of NIWA.
Seafood New Zealand Chief Executive, Jeremy Helson welcomed the Awards and said he is delighted the Minister has put them on the calendar.
“There is some excellent work going on in the seafood sector both in minimising our environmental footprint and designing innovative new ways of fishing,” he said.
“It is great to see our people getting recognition for their efforts and we thank Minister Nash for making it possible.”