THE judges have been announced for the re-launched Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards, to be held on May 23 next year during the Aquaculture UK exhibition in Aviemore.
The eight-strong panel has been chosen for its breadth of knowledge of the varied aspects of the UK aquaculture industry, said awards organiser 5m Publishing.
They include Alex Adrian, aquaculture operations manager of Crown Estate Scotland; Jim Treasurer, research director at FAI Ardtoe; Martin Gill, managing director of Acoura; 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; Sunil Kadri of Hatch Blue, the world’s first aquaculture accelerator; and event organiser Susan Tinch.
Adrian (pictured), who was on the judging panel when the awards were run by the Crown Estate, said: ‘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.
‘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. And it’s an uplifting experience to see the work and the pride businesses display in what they are doing.’
Nine of the 12 categories in the awards will be the same as the last event, which was staged in Edinburgh 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.
Holmyard said: ‘I was delighted to be asked to be involved in the judging panel for the awards, which recognise best practice, innovation, dedication and the considerable achievements made by the aquaculture sector in recent years,’ said ‘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.
Treasurer said: ‘I am keen to be involved, to see the quality of the produce, the best of good practice, the innovation, sustainability and good environmental record of each nominee.
‘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.’
A formal call for entries will open in December, with the closing date Monday, March 5, 2018. The shortlists will be announced in early April.