Aquaculture for all

Aquaculture trainees shortlisted for Lantra Scotland’s 2023 awards

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Aquaculture trainees Craig Johnstone and Lori Smith have been short-listed for Lantra Scotland’s Awards for Land-based and Aquaculture Skills (the ALBAS), which will take place on Thursday 9 March at the
Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Dunblane Hydro.

Craig Johnstone at a fish pen
Craig Johnstone is working as a site manager for Brakkafrost Scotland

Johnstone is undergoing a technical apprenticeship in aquaculture through UHI Shetland

Craig from Tarbert in Argyll & Bute has been doing a technical apprenticeship in aquaculture through UHI Shetland, while working as a site manager for Brakkafrost Scotland.

He said: “Coming from Tarbert and having family involved in aquaculture, it was natural for me to follow in their footsteps. I love the community culture of the industry and there is so much to learn. My apprenticeship has taught me to reach for my goals and helped me overcome all the challenges that have come my way.”

Lori is from Bixter in Shetland and has been doing a modern apprentice in aquaculture through UHI Shetland, while working as a fish technician for Scottish Sea Farms.

She said: “I was born and brought up in the Shetland Islands, where aquaculture is one of our core industries, so naturally I developed an interest in the sector. I love how varied my role is and how each day is different. Every day you are aiming to provide the best care for the fish which is very rewarding.”

Lantra Scotland is a charity which works to increase the number and diversity of employees in the land-based, aquaculture and environmental conservation sector and drive their skills development.

Lori Smith near fish boxes
Lori Smith is working as a fish technician for Scottish Sea Farms

Smith says that growing up on the Shetland Islands sparked her interest in aquaculture

The ALBAS play a vital role in promoting careers within the rural sector, celebrating the achievements of learners and highlighting the importance to employers of investing in skills.

Host for the evening will be sheep farmer Cammy Wilson from Ayrshire, who also runs popular YouTube channel The Sheep Game.

Industry categories at this year’s ALBAS cover agriculture, aquaculture, equine, game and wildlife, horticulture, land-based engineering and trees and timber.

As well as prizes for overall winner, runner-up and modern apprentice of the year, there are also prizes for higher education, school pupil and secondary schools, CARAS (Council for Awards of Agricultural Societies), a mentor award for inspirational tutor, the Tam Tod Trophy and the Anna Murray Award for Partnership Working.

Finalists for ALBAS 2023 were selected by an independent judging panel made up of influential figures from across the land-based and aquaculture sector, chaired by Keith Paterson of Forestry and Land Scotland.

Liz Barron-Majerik, director of Lantra Scotland commented:

“We are all very proud of the role that the ALBAS play in highlighting the achievements of new entrants and career changers in our sector, and in showing people the benefits of skills development and partnership working.

I’d especially like to congratulate this year’s finalists who are going through to the ALBAS ceremony in March and wish them good luck, but would also like to say well done to everyone who was nominated, as that in itself is worthy of recognition.

We are also very grateful to the independent panel of industry figures who do the judging, to training providers and employers who submit the nominations, and of course to all of our generous supporters who make our event possible.”

Tickets for the evening are available from Lantra Scotland on 01738 310164 or

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