It’s been business as usual for Darren McClements (pictured above, left, receiving his award from Peter Duncan of category sponsor Peterhead Port Authority and 2023 host Stephen Buchanan), skipper of the prawn trawler Golden Ray B 963 and last year’s Over 10m Fisherman of the Year at the Fishing News Awards.

Portavogie-based Darren was nominated for ‘undertaking leading work for the industry’, which included collaborating with Whitby Seafoods and SafetyNet Technologies on ground- breaking gear trials.

“I’m still heavily involved with Whitby Seafoods,” Darren told FN when we caught up with him last week. “We’ve done another three or four trials since last year, with another four coming up here in March using coverless nets and double codend nets – with the aim of trying to keep ahead of avoiding juvenile fish.”

Darren told FN that the experience of being nominated, through to winning the award was ‘fabulous’. “It was great, especially for somebody from Northern Ireland to even be nominated, because we very rarely get a look-in. The whole experience was fabulous – I highly recommend it.

“The ceremony itself was a great night. You hear names being talked about throughout the industry, and it was nice to meet people – guys who you’ve spoken to on the phone back and forward. It was good to actually see them face to face.”

An unfortunate incident later in the evening led to Darren’s newly acquired trophy leaving the venue in a few more pieces than when it arrived. However, FN swiftly dispatched a replacement – which is now proudly, and safely, on display.

“The trophy sits in the front spot in our kitchen/dining area. It’s got pride of place,” said Darren.

“I hope everybody enjoys this year’s event. It really is fabulous to be there and see it all happening.”

The Fishing News Awards 2024 will be taking place at The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen on Wednesday 8 May. Book your tickets here and make your nominations for the 2024 awards here



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