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Seafood Industry Honours Its People In A Challenging Year

As New Zealand dealt with COVID-19, the seafood industry continued to provide the country with seafood as an essential service. While those who go above and beyond in the industry are normally acknowledged at the Seafood New Zealand conference, this year that was not possible. However, this year above others, they deserved their accolades.

Seafood New Zealand Chief Executive Dr Jeremy Helson said the quality of this years’ Seafood Stars Awards winners was exceptional.

The Seafood Stars Awards, now in their fifth year, are presented to those who showcase excellence in one of the following categories: Future Development Innovation, Longstanding Service and Young Achiever.

In recognition of the outstanding leadership, collaboration and initiatives observed during the pandemic, a fourth category was generated – the COVID-19 Response Award.

Four of these awards were presented.

New Zealand King Salmon’s health and safety initiatives and commitment to their employees during the pandemic collectively earned them the title, with special mention to Grant Rosewarne’s senior leadership team (Andrew Clark, Jemma McCowan, Graeme Tregidga, Alan Cook and Shaun Young), engineering project supervisor Joe de Roo and project manager Cameron Johnston.

Sealord’s community outreach in the form of donated product and initiatives such as drive-through temperature checks, also earned them the COVID-19 award; while the Baker boys, Jason and Dave from Saavid Fishing Ltd, were recognised for social distancing protocols during lockdown – in the water, on the boat and on land.

The final winner of the award, Seafood Standards manager Cathy Webb, was a worthy recipient.

“Webb was integral in developing operating guidelines for the seafood sector as alert levels shifted and was pivotal in informing operators of the latest requirements, working tirelessly to ensure communications were received as they happened,” Helson said.

Adrian King of New Zealand King Salmon was the sole winner of the 2020 Future Development Innovation Award, having established a sustainable solution for feeding multiple salmon farms from a single location using a communications network.

Three Young Achiever Awards were presented.

Logan Nutsford joined the seafood industry in 2019. In less than a year, Nutsford has led Sanford’s development of a mussel sampling and sourcing prototype that improves factory yield and product quality.

Talley’s employee, Nicholas Langridge, was also recognised for his personal development and passion for the role. Langridge left school at 16, later joining Talley’s freight department running product between Nelson and Motueka before being accepted into the group’s cadetship. Langridge spent two months at the company’s Timaru site, building his understanding of “vessel to customer” production and was recently instated as Talley’s Westport wet fish site manager.

The invaluable contributions of Te Ohu Kaimoana’s policy analyst Tamar Wells made her the final Young Achiever winner. A strong advocate for Maori, Wells represented iwi interests in the Maui and Hector’s dolphin Threat Management Plan and was actively involved in developing the East Coast tarakihi rebuild plan. She is also a member of the Seabird Advisory Group.

Completing the lineup were three Longstanding Service Award winners.

Steve Bishop has had a 36-year career in the seafood industry, holding an integral role in developing compliance regimes and processes for the introduction of the Quota Management System in 1986. Bishop worked for Sealord as a risk compliance manager, and now as fleet operations manager for Independent Fisheries.

Alistair Jerrett’s 35-years of research and vision for ethically harvested, quality fish also earned him a Longstanding Service Award. A scientist at Plant & Food, Jerrett was instrumental in the development of Precision Seafood Harvesting and has continued to deliver practical science and technology solutions to the industry.

Philip Clow, president of the Whitianga/Coromandel Peninsula Commercial Fishermen’s Association, has also dedicated much of his working life to the seafood sector. Clow has supported youth into employment, invested time in developing young fishers’ skills and careers and continues to be involved in several working groups focused on improving sector outcomes.

“All three of these people have made outstanding contributions over many decades. Their expertise and dedication has been invaluable to the growth of New Zealand’s seafood industry and we thank them for their service,” said Helson.

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