Twelve awards, across a range of categories, were delivered at the event, which was compered by Dougie Vipond and attracted representatives and the finfish and shellfish sectors from across the UK and further afield.
The awards kicked off with the Aquaculture Seafood Product of the Year which was won by the Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group (SSMG) for their innovative quick-to-cook moules frites, which they developed in partnership with Morrisons.
This was followed by awards for the best shellfish and finfish farm managers, which were won by Robert Lamont of Loch Ryan Oyster Fishery Company and Sarah Last of Scottish Sea Farms respectively.
Aquaculture Supplier of the Year was won by the Mull-based family business Inverlussa Marine, while the Business Development Award was scooped by Akva Group Scotland, who have grown and diversified their range of offerings over the last two years. The Community Initiative Award was won by Marine Harvest, the first of three prizes scooped by Scotland’s largest salmon producer, for establishing a new farm and creating much-needed jobs on Rum, an island with only 28 people.
Next up was one of three new awards categories – the Rising Star – which was open to emerging talents under 35 years of age. Breaking from tradition in the event, the award was jointly presented to Lynne Frame, hatchery specialist at Scottish Sea Farms and Scott MacKay, who has enjoyed a meteoric rise at AKVA Group Scotland.
After dinner the winners of the final four categories were announced, with Carly Daniels of the National Lobster Hatchery in Cornwall collecting the Stewardship & Sustainability Award for her work on a project that is investigating the potential of culturing lobsters in unique growing systems. This was followed by the Innovation Award, presented to David MacGillivray of Marine Harvest for developing a novel net that helps to maintain the gill health of salmon – one the industry’s main challenges – without the need for treatments.
Rounding off proceedings was the People’s Choice Award, which – after over 1000 votes – was presented to Stuart Cannon of Kames Fish Farming, a popular figure, whose been in the sector since 1972. He was also nominated for the Outstanding Contribution to the Industry Award, but amidst a strong field was pipped to the post by Stewart Graham, MD Of Gael Force Group, who was instrumental in launching the industry’s 2030 vision – an initiative that aims to double the value of the Scottish aquaculture industry in the next 12 years.
Finally – the grand finale – was the Best Aquaculture Company of the Year, which was presented to Ben Hadfield, MD of Marine Harvest, following two dynamic years at the helm of the company.
“We’re thrilled about how well combining the awards with the Aquaculture UK exhibition for the first time,” said Susan Tinch, event manager of Aquaculture UK. “It’s been a sell-out and the atmosphere was electric. We look forward to delivering an equally exciting ceremony in the near future as a tribute to how the industry has evolved.”
“We were very happy about the unprecedented industry engagement with the awards and by the incredible standard of the applications and nominations,” added Matt Colvan, Sales and Marketing Director of 5m Publishing. “It was a fitting celebration for a sector that is going from strength to strength.”