Inaugural seafood awards honour sustainability

Scientists and innovative fishing operators from Stewart Island and Fiordland to Nelson, Marlborough and Wellington have been honoured in the first ever Seafood Sustainability Awards.

Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash has congratulated the winners of the inaugural Seafood Sustainability Awards held at Parliament.

“The awards night honours six winners, from a wide array of applicants highlighting the innovation and commitment to sustainability,” Stuart Nash said.

“I established the awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s seafood sector.

“Sustainability of our wild fish stocks, aquaculture, and the wider aquatic environment is a priority. These awards recognise innovation and the adoption of fishing methods which are critical to encouraging sustainability in our seafood sector.

“There are a lot of innovative people doing really hard work to enhance the long-term sustainability of New Zealand’s kaimoana. Some of these efforts go under the radar. These awards acknowledge and celebrate those efforts and the people and businesses behind them.

Richard Wells from Resourcewise took out the Supreme Sustainability Award for his longstanding commitment to sustainability in the seafood sector.

“He has worked to reduce the bycatch of protected species in New Zealand by developing and implementing the Deepwater Protected Species Bycatch Liaison Programme. He also developed vessel management plans across the deepwater fleet, and tools and methods to mitigate bycatch.”

Dr Rosemary Hurst of NIWA won the Minister of Fisheries’ Award in recognition of 40 years contribution to fisheries science.

“Rosie has devoted her working life to fisheries research and helped shape the policy behind our deep-water fisheries and the Quota Management System. She has forged a path for female scientists and is deeply respected within the sector.

“All of the finalists selected are making a significant contribution to the sector and they should be very proud of the work they are doing. I hope their work will inspire others to adopt further innovative practices,” said Mr Nash.

More information is available here: https://www.fisheries.govt.nz/about-us/our-work/scholarships-and-awards/new-zealand-seafood-sustainability-awards

Award winners:

Operational Innovation Award

Winner: The CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc

The CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc (the Association) has promoted a range of initiatives focused on fishery and environmental management. Including a new and more responsive method to determine catch limits and maximise economic returns while maintaining high stock abundance. 

Finalists: Richard Wells - Resourcewise and Precision Seafood Harvesting

The Lee-Fish Limited Award for Market Innovation and Value Added

Winner: New Zealand King Salmon Co Ltd.

New Zealand King Salmon are the world’s largest King salmon producer, with 30 years’ experience in farming, processing and branding.

Through hard work and innovation, they have developed into one of New Zealand’s leading aquaculture companies; respected for clean, healthy and humane practices as well as superior quality salmon.

Their products are world-class, and their branding and marketing strategies are out of this world.

Finalists: Better Fishing and Awatoru Enterprises Limited

Kaitiakitanga Award

Winner: Richard Wells- Resourcewise

Richard is an Environmental and industry leader with huge mana. Richard’s major contributions to protected species bycatch management in New Zealand include: the development and implementation of the deepwater protected species bycatch liaison programme; Vessel Management Plans across the deepwater fleet; and bycatch mitigation and science for our native seabirds, sea lions and other marine mammals.

Finalists: The CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc and Aaron McCloy – Papa Taiao Earthcare

Supreme Sustainability Award

Winner: Richard Wells- Resourcewise

The judging panel selected Richard Wells (Resourcewise) as the winner of this award due to his consistent and longstanding commitment to sustainability in the seafood sector. Richard was selected as a finalist for the Operational Innovation Award and winner of the Kaitiakitanga Award.

The judges noted Richard’s willingness to share the knowledge he has gained through research into bycatch, as well as into New Zealand's native seabirds, sea lions, and other marine mammals to build capacity in people and systems, and his collaborative approach to problem solving.

“Richard’s work has resulted in increased use of methods to mitigate bycatch, and the development of a culture built on pride, responsibility, and accountability in the deepwater fleet. His work has helped to protect marine mammals and bird-life.

Emerging Leader Award

Winner: Nate Smith - Gravity Fishing

As a commercial fisherman, Nate observed how fish stocks were declining in the waters around Stewart Island. In response to this, his boat and crew changed their method of fishing to hook and line, with a catch to order business model providing 100% traceability and transparency for their product.

By combining hook and line fishing, a traditional Japanese technique called Ikijimi and modern technology, Gravity Fishing has created a truly sustainable business focused on providing high quality and sustainable fish from hook to plate.

Finalists: Josh Wyber- High Country Salmon and Maegen Blom – Mills Bay Mussels

Minister of Fisheries Award

Winner: Rosemary Hurst, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

Rosemary is one of New Zealand’s forerunner fisheries research and science management experts whose lifelong commitment to fisheries research has helped develop policies and procedures for Deepwater fisheries and the Quota Management System. She developed the inshore fishery trawl surveys, first estimates of stock yields, and standardised monitoring approaches used for hoki.

Finalists: The CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc and Scott and Sue Tindale