2019 Fishing News Awards Winners

Use the menu below to see each category winner in the Fishing News Awards 2019

Demersal Fisherman of the Year Fishing Port of the Year
Pelagic Fisherman of the Year New Boat of the Year – Demersal
Shellfish Fisherman of the Year New Boat of the Year – Pelagic
Indep. Fresh Fish Retailer of the Year New Boat of the Year – Shellfish
Processor of the Year Trainee Fisherman of the Year
The Sustainability Award Young Fisherman of the Year
Service Company of the Year Lifetime Achievement Award

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Demersal Fisherman of the Year – sponsored by Peterhead Port Authority

Winner – David Driver, Girl Debra E 444
David is one of the few owner/skippers left in Brixham. After starting his fishing career on smaller inshore boats in Devon, he worked his way up the ladder. This gradual progression was maintained with the build of the first Girl Debra. A second boat of the same name was commissioned in 2000 – a versatile 14.95m beam trawler/scalloper/twin-rig trawler. For reasons outside his control, this project was not without its challenges initially, but were overcome through sheer hard work and determination. Nineteen years later, he continues to show similar levels of dedication.

Other finalists:
Duncan Cumming, Avrella LK 174
David Milne, Faithlie FR 220
Colin Stephen, Harvest Hope PD 120
James West, Westro PD 20

Pelagic Fisherman of the Year

Winner – Chris Duncan, Altaire LK 429
Skipper Chris Duncan and the Shetland midwater trawler Altaire have been a long-standing presence in the pelagic sector at a time when new boats are joining the fleet each year. He is an ambassador for the industry, always willing to take the time to show people around Altaire, explain how the electronics work, and tell them the history of the vessel. Despite the challenges that the industry can and does provide, he just gets on with the job in hand in an understated but highly efficient manner. He’s a laid-back professional, and always the first to go when the season gets underway.

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Shellfish Fisherman of the Year

Joint Winner (Mobile Gear) – Jamie Clarke, Osprey BA 4
Jamie has rapidly worked his way up to skipper after displaying great leadership abilities, through exemplary work ethic, care of the catch and undertaking of extra responsibilities, and is one of the best queenie skippers in the fleet. He is wholly committed to sustainability, spearheading a modern outlook through the latest thinking, dedication, and sharing acquired knowledge with colleagues. His positive can-do attitude and old-school morals have set him in good stead for becoming a powerhouse in his chosen sector. Hardworking, conscientious, talented skippers like Jamie are needed to modernise the industry and to inspire the next generation.

Joint Winner (Static Gear) – Alasdair Maclean, Dawn Treader OB 461
Alasdair ‘Steptoe’ Maclean has been a prawn creel fisherman for at least 40 years, and has seen many changes since he started, but still loves it as much as ever. Dawn Treader is his pride and joy, and it is a longstanding joke that he’s often seen or heard at the pier at 4am. Alasdair is generous with his time and knowledge, and helps people out, but doesn’t think he’s special; he’s just doing his job, and helping to promote a positive image of the industry. Alasdair hopes that one day his grandson Rio will take over from him as skipper of Dawn Treader.

Other finalists:
Andrew Stevens, Benediction FH 623
Ryan Stevenson, Lady Isle N 264
Dominic Welsh, J-Sea E 333

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Independent Fresh Fish Retailer of the Year

Winner – Peterhead Fish Company, Peterhead
Stephen Bruce set up the Peterhead Fish Company in January 2016 and delivers same-day supplies of the freshest possible fish direct from Peterhead fishmarket to customers’ doors. Stephen is extremely passionate about his job and is a great ambassador for the industry, promoting both it and the benefits of eating fresh fish. Every day, the Peterhead Fish Company uses its social media accounts to identify the boats that have provided the day’s catch, which has proved to be very popular. Customers are taking a keen interest in where their fish has come from, and this has helped to build up a large customer base in a short time.

Other finalists:
Fish on the Quay, Exmouth
Mermaid Seafoods, Llandudno
Mersea Island Fresh Catch, Mersea Island
Peterhead Fish Company, Peterhead
RX Fisheries, Hastings
World of Fish, Lowestoft

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Processor of the Year – Hodgson Fish

Winner – Hodgson Fish, Hartlepool
Hodgson Fish is a family-run fish processing operation based in Hartlepool. It has grown and developed in an ever-changing industry to establish a reputation as a processing team that has quality and service at the heart of its business. From supplying mainly whiting, haddock, cod and plaice in its early days, its range has grown substantially, to now include tuna, swordfish, scallops, bream, sea bass and many more. The company’s fully-qualified filleters skin, scale, steak and pin-bone any fish to customers’ specific requirements, for daily delivery throughout the north of England by its fleet of modern refrigerated vehicles.

Other finalists:
Midland Fish Co Ltd Fleetwood
More Seafood Brixham

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The Sustainability Award – sponsored by The Fishmongers’ Company

Joint Winner – Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (SIFCA) – Poole clam and cockle fishery
Fishermen at Poole Harbour in Dorset achieved a world first in 2018 by gaining MSC and RFS certifications for a single fishery. The achievement of moving from an unregulated and unsustainable clam and cockle fishery in Poole Harbour, through to being awarded MSC and RFS accreditation, was achieved by a unique partnership approach built on dialogue, science and trust. This was widely acknowledged as an inspirational approach, and one that could be used as a blueprint for how UK inshore fisheries should be managed, for the benefit of people and sustainability, through co-management and adaptive approaches. SIFCA’s innovative approach to management, and to building trust and partnership with the industry, which is said to be without parallel in English inshore fisheries, saw it move from a situation of no management and IUU to MSC accreditation and sustainable fishing in five years. This has contributed to the sustainability of an MPA in Poole Harbour being further enhanced, at the same time as better prices are being realised from a sustainably managed harvest.

Joint Winner – Scottish Pelagic Fishermen’s Association & Fisheries Innovation Scotland – study on scientific self-sampling
The project, which included the SFF, SWFPA and Marine Scotland Science, resulted in a feasibility study into a scientific self-sampling programme for the pelagic sector. Fishermen often question scientific surveys and sampling schemes, and scientists can doubt the reliability of catch data. FIS asked the SPFA and the University of Aberdeen to look at opportunities to improve both trust and data quality on either side. Providing scientific data through self-sampling is seen by fishermen as a welcome opportunity to directly contribute to the continuous improvement of stock assessments. This new FIS report identifies opportunities for the Scottish pelagic industry to collect and contribute relevant data to support the assessment of stocks and management of fisheries. It also discusses how self-sampling schemes might help to address information needs in less data-rich situations, such as those in demersal and Nephrops fisheries.

Other finalists:
Darren Edwards, Brixham Trawl Makers
Gearing Up Project – international online tool to address landing obligation requirements
Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) – North Sea hake, plaice and whiting MSC certification
Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO) – MSC-certified brown crab and dredged king scallop fisheries

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Service Company of the Year

Winner – Jackson Trawls, Peterhead
Jackson Trawls has given a brilliant service, manufacturing top-quality nets for the fishing industry, for over 40 years. The wide range of bespoke nets built for skippers all over the UK and Ireland includes mackerel/herring/blue whiting midwater trawls, seine and pair-seine nets, whitefish trawls, and single/double-bosom twin-rig prawn trawls. The company is constantly working on new projects to try to make nets that are more sustainable. Equally, it is very accommodating if a skipper needs a quick repair, and can always be relied upon to get you back to sea as quickly as possible.

Other finalists:
Box Pool Solutions, Peterhead
John Reid & Son Ltd, Brixham
Karl Thomsen, Buckie
The Real McKay, Buckie

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Fishing Port of the Year

Winner – Peterhead
2018 was a landmark year for Peterhead port; completion of the £51m inner harbour deepening and new fishmarket project resulted in significantly increased landings in the second half of the year. It all culminated in a record year by catch value and volume for the port. More than £202m-worth of fish was landed, an increase of 3.5% over 2017, while tonnage increased to 174,000t, a rise of 1.4% over 2017, reflecting a generally higher price structure being achieved. The new fishmarket was officially opened by HRH Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay, in September, to much aplomb. Along with the royal seal of approval, the port achieved the highest accreditation from the British Retail Consortium (BRC), an AA rating for global standards in food safety, guaranteeing the standardisation of quality, safety and operational criteria. The port is also leading, in conjunction with Seafish, on the Responsible Fishing Port and Responsible Fishing Vessels schemes, which have been developed to raise standards in the catching sector, enabling those within the seafood supply chain to demonstrate their commitment to the responsible sourcing and handling of seafood. These will be fully integrated into operations during 2019. These milestones are what sets Peterhead port’s value differentiation apart, and why it is one of the pre-eminent fishing ports in Europe.

Special Contribution Award – Mevagissey
As the second-highest-grossing landing centre in Cornwall, second only to Newlyn, Mevagissey is a thriving port with a growing number of big boats, and more life and heart than seen in many other ports. As well as a well-kept quay, adequate fridge space and good crane and ice facilities, it’s the people that make Mevagissey so special. They are always on hand to ring a skipper if they think a vessel’s leg has gone wonky, or if an unexpected change in weather is making a berth unsafe. There is also an outstanding selection of young fishermen who have come up through family ranks, several of whom own and run their own trawlers/netters. A visit to the quay will show that while, in many ways, the industry seems to be in trouble, the sheer number of young fishermen here is evidence that the industry is alive and well in Mevagissey. These fishermen aren’t in it for the money; it’s in their blood, and in 30 years they will still be here, fighting for the life they chose.

Other finalists:

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New Boat of the Year – Demersal

Winner – Audacious BF 83
Designed for pair-seining and single boat trawling and featuring three decks, the versatile 27.8m whitefish vessel Audacious incorporates a number of notable firsts. These include a custom-built touch-screen vessel management Alarm, Monitoring and Control System, two sets of fishroom scales/labelling machines and two gutting machines.

Other finalists:
Achieve FR 100
Caledonia III BCK 35
Guiding Light H 90
Jannetje Cornelis H 144
Joyful Spirit PH 29
Kirkella H 7
Our David George BD 287
Saxon Spirit LT 1052
Stella Nova DA 57
Tranquility LK 63
Uberous FR 50
Vision IV BF 191

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New Boat of the Year – Pelagic

Winner – Research
The 80m Research is the first Scottish pelagic vessel to be equipped with electric-drive deck machinery. Powered by a Wärtsilä main engine that is included in Guinness World Records for being the most fuel-efficient engine of its type. The Shetland midwater trawler is also the first boat in the world to use electric fish pumps.

Other finalists:
Fiona K III T 117
Girl Stephanie G 190
Ocean Star FR 77
Serene LK 297
Western Chieftain SO 237

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New Boat of the Year – Shellfish

Joint Winner (static gear) – Soph-Ash-Jay 3
The Cleopatra Fisherman 40 fast potter Soph-Ash-Jay 3 is equipped with a Seakeeper 5 computer-controlled gyroscope stabilisation system. This significantly enhances crew safety by eliminating up to 95% of boat roll. Shellfish caught up to 50 miles offshore are kept in optimum condition until landing in the 100+ box capacity sprinkler hold amidships.

Joint Winner (mobile gear) – Summer Rose OB 141
The 20.3m automated scalloper Summer Rose features a new hull design specifically developed to allow a number of innovative new ideas to be incorporated into a fully integrated solution. The first installation of hydraulically operated horizontal towing arms positioned on the shelterdeck abaft the wheelhouse is a key safety feature on Summer Rose.

Other finalists:
Atlantic Dawn CN 25
Debbie V FH 555
Mary May BK 8
Sophy Rose BK 533
Sunseeker II SY 102

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Trainee Fisherman of the Year – sponsored by Sunderland Marine Insurance

Winner – Gavin Burnett, Ocean Endeavour PD 625
After initial training at the Scottish Maritime Academy, Peterhead, Gavin was taken on by John Buchan, skipper of the local whitefish trawler Ocean Endeavour PD 625, six months ago. John Buchan said: “Gavin is the best trainee I have ever had. He is learning quickly and is full of excitement about the job. He’s a great worker! He is a really keen young lad, and doesn’t need to be asked twice to do a job. He is also very keen on learning. Often he spends his time off in the net store developing his skills. He has the determination and commitment to recognise the importance of teamwork on a fishing vessel, and is always looking for the ‘big haul’ and the feeling of pride when all his hard work pays off.”

Other finalist:
Rory Brickley, Victory Rose WY 34

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Young Fisherman of the Year – sponsored by Seafish

Winner – Ben Bengey, Shelly N BD 319
Ben is an inspirational and enthusiastic young fisherman who is committed to the wider fishing community of Ilfracombe and North Devon. He started his training at 15, and has since worked on Compass Rose BD 78, Orca BD 77, Green Isle BD 80, Our Jenny BD 4, and then his own boats, Silver Spirit BD 319 and Shelly N BD 319. He has been involved in many projects promoting the industry, both in communities and nationally. Ben has been on the crew of Ilfracombe lifeboat for five years, and recently passed out as a navigator, and is now undergoing training as a helmsman and then coxswain.

Other finalists:
William McKenzie, Lapwing PD 972
Ross Sutherland, Arcturus LK 59
Colm O’Brien, Aoibh Aine SO 160

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Lifetime Achievement Award – sponsored by Box Pool Solutions

Joint Winner – Mike Montgomerie
Mike was a fisherman for over 20 years, during which time he was a shareholder on the usually Kinlochbervie-based whitefish trawler Sparkling Star BCK 264. Since coming ashore in 1997, he has worked for Seafish as a gear technologist, devoting his life to sharing his extensive knowledge with the industry he loves, and about which he cares passionately. He is widely recognised as a world-leading expert in gear technology. His approach is collaborative, working with the UK industry and fishermen to deliver real-life practical solutions, and he has been to sea on many fishing vessels, trialling and testing new fishing gear and modifications to help fishermen. When he started, his aim was to help fishermen catch more fish; these days, the focus is to make their gear more selective and reduce discards. Having spent many years at the Seafish flume tank in Hull, delivering gear technology training courses, running gear workshops, and providing expert advice and guidance to fishermen, he continues this work at the flume tank in Hirtshals, Denmark.

Joint Winner – David Fraser, Opportune WK 171
Caithness skipper David Fraser is retiring this year after a fishing career spanning 50 years, including 35 years in the wheelhouse of the Wick seine-netter Opportune WK 171. He has always been dedicated to his job and is consistently among the steady top-earning seine-netters. On leaving school, he started fishing from Lybster onboard the local seiner North Star. He then went to Peterhead where he became a crewman on Fair Isle. While he was up for his tickets at Fraserburgh, David was approached by the late Norrie Bremner and asked if he wanted a berth onboard Boy Andrew WK 170. He was on the first Boy Andrew as engineer, mate and then skipper, and became a partner in the Bremner Fishing Company. When the second Boy Andrew was built in 1986, he moved to Opportune. The same five crewmen have been with him for 19 years, which speaks volumes for his capabilities and personality in equal measure.

Other finalists:
Jimmy Buchan
Graham Doswell, Halcyon NN 114

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