Aquaculture for all

Judges announced for Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards

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The judging panel for the 2018 Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards has been announced today, at a time when aquaculture companies across the UK are busily preparing their entries and nominations for next year’s event.

The 8-person panel has been selected for its breadth of knowledge of the varied aspects of the UK aquaculture industry and includes well-known figures chosen to provide insights from both industrial and academic perspectives. Although largely based in Scotland, many of the panel members bring valuable international experience to bear, which is essential for putting the achievements of the British aquaculture industry into a wider context.

“We are pleased to be able to call on the expert opinions of so many high profile figures from both the aquaculture industry and academia,” says Susan Tinch, who is organising the revamped awards on behalf of 5m Publishing. “And we feel the breadth of experience that our judges can bring into play will allow them to make highly qualified decisions on which entries deserve a place on the shortlist for each of our 12 categories.”

This year’s judges consist of Alex Adrian, Aquaculture Operations Manager, Crown Estate Scotland; Martin Gill, MD of Acoura; Jim Treasurer, Research Director at FAI Ardtoe; Rob Fletcher, Senior Editor of The Fish Site and Sustainable Aquaculture Magazine; Professor Neil Hazon, Director of the Sustainable Aquaculture Course at the University of St Andrews; Nicki Holmyard, Head of Corporate Communications for Offshore Shellfish Ltd; Dr Sunil Kadri of Hatch Blue – the world’s first aquaculture accelerator; and event organiser Susan Tinch.

“I was delighted to be asked to be involved in the judging panel for the awards, which recognize best practice, innovation, dedication and the considerable achievements made by the aquaculture sector in recent years,” says Nicki Holmyard. “I have been involved in aquaculture for 30 years, both as a shellfish farmer and an industry journalist, and I am pleased to be able to use my experience and knowledge to help reward the brightest and best in our sector.”

When examining the individual entries, the judges will consider the criteria identified for each category. Following consideration of all entries, the judging panel will identify shortlists for each category, from which the winners will be selected.

“I'm looking forward to being involved, to see the quality of the produce, the best of good practice, the innovation, sustainability and good environmental record of each nominee,” says Jim Treasurer. “These will be the main facets being looked at but there will also be other criteria such as quality of staff development and training, the good management and tidiness of the sites, the team spirit and ethos of each farm, the importance of fish welfare, the ability to innovate, and the ability to collaborate with other companies and individuals.”

Nine of the 12 categories in the awards will be the same as in 2015, while three new categories have been added for 2018 – Shellfish Farmer of the Year, Rising Star and the People’s Choice. The latter will be chosen, not by the judges, but by a public vote.

“I’m keen that the awards are being continued because they are an important showcase for the continuous innovation shown by aquaculture businesses – both for wider public and for the industry itself,” reflects Alex Adrian, who was previously on the judging panel when the awards were run by Crown Estate Scotland.

“It’s an opportunity to meet and learn more about the people involved in aquaculture – all those behind the sector’s key achievements and the advances,” he continues. “And it’s an uplifting experience to see the work and the pride businesses display in what they are doing.”

Awards timetable

  • A full list of categories and details of how to enter the awards can be found at
  • A formal call for entries will open in December with the closing date for entries Monday 5 March 2018.
  • The shortlists will be announced in early April and followed by the awards ceremony on Wednesday 23 May 2018 during the Aquaculture UK exhibition in Aviemore.
  • Please visit the website or email for further information.
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