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Stars of the seafood industry recognised in Queenstown

Outstanding performers in New Zealand’s seafood sector were recognised in Queenstown today.

Four Young Achiever Awards were presented, which augurs well for the future of the industry.

Sam Hayes of Whangarei and Matt Howden of Gisborne both joined the industry out of school and quickly showed leadership skills that saw them gain skipper’s certificates, purchase their own vessels and employ crew at an early age.

Josh Pearce of Melbourne completed the Australian National Seafood Industry Leadership Program and has a passion for New Zealand seafood. Pearce and his business partner Renee run the Fish Shoppe in the South Melbourne Market and proudly sell and tell the story of sustainable New Zealand seafood.

Another Young Achiever Award went to Sam Pearson of New Zealand King Salmon who has been earmarked as a future leader.

New Zealand King Salmon also picked up two Future Development Innovation Awards. One for Denver McGregor for his research into listeria monocytogenes, a bacteria which can contaminate product, and the other to Simon Thomas for his work to maximise the use of salmon by-products.

The Longstanding Service Award went to two recipients.

Brian Skepper has worked at the Sydney Fish Market (SFM) since 1973 and currently holds the role of General Manager. He established OceanWatch and the industry-based levy to support its environmental operations, introduced the Dutch-auction trading system and the electronic trading system now used at SFM, established the Sydney Seafood School and oversaw the evolution of SFM from a purely wholesale fish market into an international tourism destination. More than 10 percent of the fish sold at SFM is from New Zealand.

Also receiving a Longstanding Service Award is Wayne Lowther who has been part of the industry since he was the manager of the observer programme of MAF(Fish) in the early 1990s. He continued in management roles in the Ministry of Fisheries when it was established in 1995 until he moved into his current role as General Manager, Client Services for FishServe in 1999. The award pays tribute to his huge knowledge of, and contribution to the smooth running of the Quota Management System.

Seafood Stars Awards are presented at the Seafood New Zealand conference annually.

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