AN Orkney based fish farm manager has won a prestigious international farming award for his work in establishing a new salmon farm.
Richard Darbyshire, from Scottish Sea Farms, will go to Cranfield University School of Management in February as part of his ‘Champion of Champions’ prize from the annual Marks & Spencer Farming for the Future awards.
The awards were launched six years ago to celebrate producers in the M&S supply chain who stand out and make a difference to their industry.
There are seven initial categories – six regional UK awards as well as an international award – and the winners of each are put forward for the overall Champion of Champions honour.
Richard is the regional production manager for Scottish Sea Farms and was recognised for the setting up and successful operation of a new Lochmuir Salmon farm on Eday.
Steve McLean, head of Agriculture and Fisheries Sourcing at M&S, said: ‘Richard’s entry highlighted the great work that he and his team have undertaken in establishing a new farm in very difficult tidal conditions close to Eday.
‘We were particularly impressed by his determination to make the site work and provide high value jobs for islanders in this remote part of the world.
‘What’s even more remarkable is that having been established in 2012, the Eday farm went on to be Scottish Sea Farms’ best performing site in 2013 – an incredible achievement given the conditions in which they operate.’
Richard said: ‘I am both proud and absolutely delighted to have won this prestigious award. As a retailer, M&S is known for its high standards and we have been able to demonstrate our commitment in the areas of sustainability, ethics and education.
‘The quality of salmon we can produce in Orkney is exceptional and we overcame technically challenging environmental conditions to site the farm at Eday.
‘We have employed local Eday residents and developed them via our comprehensive training programme.
‘The new site has also stimulated the local economy and, due to its success, we are now about to expand in the area.
‘This award is not just for me but is recognition for the entire Scottish Sea Farms Eday team and the hard work and high standards that they aspire to on a daily basis.’