Aquaculture for all

Aquaculture Awards highlight unsung heroes

Atlantic Salmon Nutrition Health +6 more

This year's Aquaculture Awards judges broke with convention and shone a light on those working on the behind-the-scenes support services.

Aquaculture awards 2024.
Dr Ralph Bickerdike and David Lipscey were recognised for their behind-the-scenes contributions

© Irene Pozo

Two Scottish Sea Farms employees have been recognised at the Aquaculture Awards 2024, helping shine a light on some of the behind-the-scenes services such as health and breeding. Traditionally, sector awards have recognised those working on the front line of salmon farming, but this year judges broke with convention, helping raise the profile of support-services.

Dr Ralph Bickerdike, head of fish health for Scottish Sea Farms, was named “Unsung Hero” for his work linking nutrition to fish health. Bickerdike, who previously spent 12 years working on the link between fish feed and health for aquafeed giant BioMar, joined Scottish Sea Farms in 2016.

“From my first meeting with Ralph it was clear how much he cared about nutrition, fish health and helping farmers do the very best by the livestock in their care. I felt he could make an even bigger difference working directly for us, and without doubt he has,” said Jim Gallagher, managing director of Scottish Sea Farms, in a press release.

Bickerdike now leads a team of 13, including four in-house vets. His remit extends far beyond simply feed, helping bring about key advances such as the use of cleaner fish, freshwater treatments and water quality surveillance, along with ongoing work to establish a secure supply of Scottish broodstock.

Also recognised at the Aquaculture Awards 2024 was Scottish Sea Farms IT engineer David Lipcsey who was named joint winner of the Rising Star category. David received the award for his work leading the integration of ex-Grieg Seafood Shetland systems following its acquisition in 2021. This included replacing inherited hatchery IT with all-new infrastructure; transitioning ex-Grieg farms away from centralised feeding to Scottish Sea Farms’ preferred approach of individual farm feeding; and integrating the networks of two separate processing facilities.

“It wasn’t just the complexity of the projects completed that impressed. It was also the sheer number of competing projects that David coped with, all in his customary unflappable manner,” said Colin Kupris, Scottish Sea Farms IT operations and infrastructure leader.

“Every new farm, barge, facility and face - David has been our ‘boots on the ground’ for each. I think just about every new colleague will have interacted with him at some stage of the transition process. Quite simply, without him we couldn’t have achieved what we have,” he added.

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