The Sustainability Award

sponsored by The Fishmongers’ Company

This award recognises and rewards outstanding innovation and achievement towards improving sustainability and environmental responsibility within the UK fishing industry. Nominations can be in respect of individuals, organisations, companies or other bodies working in the UK seafood industry.

The nominee must demonstrate that during 2018 they made an outstanding contribution to improving sustainable practices within the UK fishing industry through advocacy or innovation.

**This category does not have a public vote. Instead, it will be judged by a panel drawn from the fishing industry, using all supporting evidence provided through the nomination process.**


Darren Edwards, Brixham Trawl Makers

Brixham net-maker Darren Edwards has successfully developed new styles of selective trawls that, by significantly reducing unwanted by-catches, are making a major contribution to sustainability. Widely known as ‘Edd the Net’, his reputation for making nets that have been shown to reduce discards by over 60% led to him spending time with local fishermen in Thailand in 2018 at the invitation of the government Department of Fisheries in Bangkok. After being at sea for 11 years on Brixham beamers, Darren Edwards came ashore to work as a net mender and maker, before establishing his own company. He played a key role by making some of the nets trialled by Brixham skippers for the CEFAS-initiated Project 50%, with the aim of reducing discards in the Channel beamer fleet by at least 50%. The results were staggering, and by-catch discards were reduced by over 60% in the winning designs. Further successful developments, including the Roller Ball and ‘Square’ layout beam trawls, followed.

No voting is required – this category will be decided by a panel of industry judges.

Gearing Up Project – international online tool to address landing obligation requirements

Gearing Up is a powerful online, multi-language, interactive tool helping fishermen to find effective and sustainable solutions to the challenges of the landing obligation. It is the only platform that allows fishermen to access over 300 (and growing) selective gear trials in less than three clicks, giving them the rare opportunity to see how different selective gears perform on the water before making large financial commitments on gear modifications. Designed with and for fishermen, Gearing Up only provides the information that fishermen want to know: the location of the fishing gear trial, the vessel that trialled the gear, the species of interest, and the selective fishing gear that was used. The results show at a glance whether the selective fishing modification reduced or increased discards, and by what percentage. It also has handy graphics to show fishermen where the selective device sits in the net. Behind Gearing Up is an adaptive, creative and multi-disciplinary team. Scientists, communicators and web designers are working together to constantly evolve and add to this powerful tool.

No voting is required – this category will be decided by a panel of industry judges.

Scottish Fisheries Sustainable Accreditation Group (SFSAG) – North Sea hake, plaice and whiting MSC certification

The SFSAG’s simultaneous application for North Sea hake, plaice and whiting to be awarded Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) status proved successful in July 2018. This achievement builds on the SFSAG’s commitment to sustainable demersal fishing in the North Sea, having previously gained MSC certification for NS haddock (2010/2016), saithe (2013) and cod (2017). Representing members from the UK seafood industry, the SFSAG was set up in 2008 following moves to take a range of species through the MSC process. The group, which also supports the Responsible Fishing Scheme, recognises that like many commercial fisheries across the world, those in Scotland have experienced increased pressure in the marketplace to demonstrate responsible and sustainable activities. Sustainability through a transparent supply chain creates well-informed consumers which, in turn, has driven increased demand for sustainably sourced seafood.

No voting is required – this category will be decided by a panel of industry judges.

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.

No voting is required – this category will be decided by a panel of industry judges.

Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO) – MSC-certified brown crab and dredged king scallop fisheries

In 2012, Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO) gained MSC certification for velvet crab, brown crab and dredged king scallops. While the velvet crab fishery is going through a stock rebuilding process, SSMO decided to commence reaccreditation for brown crab and dredged king scallops. The process began in 2017 and, despite an objection to the king scallop reaccreditation, which resulted in attendance at a formal hearing in London, both fisheries were successfully reaccredited, showing the sustainability of both species. Shetland now has the only MSC-certified brown crab and dredged king scallop fisheries in Europe. This is a notable achievement for a small organisation, and shows what sustainable practices and collaboration between scientists and fishermen can achieve. The accreditation will help to ensure that markets are kept open for fishermen, and safeguard the fisheries into the future.

No voting is required – this category will be decided by a panel of industry judges.

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.

No voting is required – this category will be decided by a panel of industry judges.

To see other category shortlists, click here

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