Award launched to recognise salmon farming’s rising stars

Fish farm salmon sea nets farming at sea Loch Tay Scotland UK

A new award, backed by the salmon industry and academia, will recognise the achievements of young people working in aquaculture.

The Young Aquaculture Society (YAS)’s Early Career Innovators Competition is being launched by the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture (IoA), trade body Salmon Scotland and Diversified Communications, organisers of the Aquaculture UK trade show and conference.

Entries are now open for the competition and the winner will be announced at Aquaculture UK in Aviemore, in the Scottish Highlands, this May.

The competition is open to members of YAS. Participants are asked to identify a challenge or problem and pitch their solution, which must be related to aquaculture — whether on a farm, at a hatchery, in a lab, or addressing a digital challenge.

The initiative comes less than six months after YAS was founded by Salmon Scotland’s Technical and Standards Manager Andrew Richardson, who is President of the society.

He said: “Early career professionals entering the field inherently bring fresh perspectives, making them well-positioned to generate impactful ideas.

“It’s truly exciting for us to introduce such a prize at this early stage of our organisation’s journey, and we are grateful to the Institute of Aquaculture and Aquaculture UK for sharing our mission.

“We can’t wait to see some great submissions from members and get inspired.”

Andrew Richardson, President of the Young Aquaculture Society and Salmon Scotland’s Technical and Standards Manager

YAS aims to support future leaders in seafood, shellfish, and finfish through socialising, networking, and professional growth.

The winner will appear at a special in-person event for sector professionals at Aquaculture UK, hosted by Salmon Scotland on 14 May.

They will enjoy a complimentary stay on the night, and the organisers will cover up to £200 for their travel to and from the event. Prizes are also available for the second and third-place runners-up.

Joining the YAS is free, and it takes just two minutes to complete an application.

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said: “With over 700 remarkable young people working directly on our farms, it’s great to see a grassroots organisation supporting these rising stars by encouraging networking, socialising, and learning.

“I look forward to hearing about their ideas for propelling our already hugely successful sector forward.”

James Dick, Technical Manager at the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, said: “Developing a healthy and diverse network is something that will undoubtedly support professional development.

“We encourage each of our IoA students to actively practice this skill, whether their ambitions are academic or working in the sector – and Aquaculture UK is the perfect place for this.”


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