It’s been a busy few weeks for the FN team since nominations closed for the 2024 Fishing News Awards, assessing all of the nominees and drawing up a shortlist for each of the 12 categories. The quality of the nominations meant that there were again some difficult decisions, with more worthy candidates than could be shortlisted in several of the categories.

We are delighted to now be able to reveal the shortlists for the 2024 awards, and open the voting. This year, eight of the categories will be decided by FN readers – so once you’ve read the shortlists, it’s over to you! Click here to place your vote for your favourite in each category.

The remaining four categories – Over-15m Boat of the Year, Under-15m Boat of the Year, the Sustainability Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award – will be decided by a panel of judges drawn from across the fishing industry. The shortlists for those categories will appear in next week’s issue.

The winners will be revealed at our gala ceremony at The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen on 8 May – the evening before the Scottish Skipper Expo opens in the city. Guests will be treated to a drinks reception, a gourmet seafood meal and entertainment from top Scottish comedian Fred MacAulay. Tickets are selling fast – book yours now to be sure of your seat at a night to remember!


To be awarded to a UK- or Ireland-based demersal, pelagic or shellfish fisherman in the over-10m sector who made an outstanding contribution to the industry in 2023

Sponsored by Peterhead Port Authority

Ken Bagley

Eighty-three-year-old Ken Bagley is both an innovator and a stalwart of the Boston industry. The longstanding head of the Boston Fishermen’s Association (BFA), he began fishing as a child, following his father and grandfather into the industry.

“I started fishing when I was 11,” Ken told Fishing News. “If a man was missing or couldn’t go, then I would take his place. Then, in 1965 when I left school, I started with the old man’s 52ft boat catching pink shrimps. I took over as skipper when I was 22.”

Ken, along with his brother Steve, has implemented many innovations in the local industry over his career, including being the first to go twin-beaming for brown shrimps and pair- fishing for skate. “I’m the oldest fisherman left on the job. I’ve run BFA for 40-odd years now,” he told FN. “Everything that’s been done in Boston, me and my brother did it first.”

Today, with the herring, skate and sprat fisheries impacted by quotas and regulatory restrictions, he now fishes for cockles from the Lucy Marie BN 80, built in 2000.

In his nomination, Ken was described as having a ‘wonderful track record in the industry, helping fishermen and his community’ and ‘working with many colleagues for a better future for the industry’.

The nominator said: “Ken has certainly earned his stripes – he is one of a kind.”

Scott Middleton

“I’ve always stayed in the Peterhead and Fraserburgh area,” Scott Middleton told FN. “When I turned 18, it was a choice of either going with the fishing or joining the military. At that time, I decided to join the army – I did 12 years in total.”

However, during a posting to Aberdeen in Scott’s 10th year of service, the lure of the sea proved too strong to ignore. “I bought my own creel boat, and also started doing more and more trips from Peterhead and Fraserburgh.”

After officially leaving the military in 2021, Scott decided to go fishing full-time. Currently on the Chloe Ella BCK 215, targeting prawns and squid, he has plans to get his skipper’s ticket later this year. “The Chloe Ella is about 15.5m, but once I get my Class 2, I could then look at going back to a slightly bigger vessel.”

Scott was described in his nomination as showing ‘nothing but commitment to the industry’ and being the sort of person who ‘when asked to do something will doit–andalsotrytodoitbetter than the first time’.

“I have no doubt that Scott will be a top skipper in the Peterhead/Fraserburgh fleet if he keeps going and keeps the same drive and determination he has shown,” said the nominator.

James Spencer

This year is the second time James Spencer, skipper of Sylvia Bowers DS 8, has been shortlisted for a Fishing News Award.

In 2018, he was named winner of the Shellfish Fisherman of the Year category, after being nominated for having ‘a passion for the job like no other, and a wealth of experience’.

“I’m not from a fishing background,” he told FN. “I got into the industry when I was
16 through one of my parents’ friends – and worked my way up from there. I was a mate at 19, and a skipper at 21. I’m now 58. Next year will be my 25th year on the Sylvia Bowers.

“We fish for king scallops. I’m a bit of a nomad. We fish out of Shoreham, we were in Hartlepool the last month, we fish in Plymouth as well – it’s the North Sea and English Channel mostly.”

Despite a career spanning more than four decades, James has lost none of his passion for what he does. “I love it. We’ve got a good crew here. I love the job. I’ve never done anything else.

“I still enjoy the hunt. Even though I’m getting older, I still push myself to try and do well for the guys.”

On hearing of his nomination, James said: “It’s a thrill. It’s an honour to be nominated again.”

Neil Edmund

Portavogie-based Neil Edmund fishes for prawns on his father’s vessel Rosemary Ann B 279. “My dad and uncle were fishermen,” Neil told FN. “So when I left school 25 years ago, I went fishing with them. I had no other option – they had just bought a new boat, and they said I had to go fishing with them – and that was that!”

The job quickly grew on him – Neil says that for him, fishing has become ‘a way of life’.

“It’s the freedom. I only travel about five miles a day to work, and I get to go out early in the morning when nobody is about.”

He was described in his nomination as a ‘hard-working fisherman’ and ‘always pushing for top prices and trying to diversify for easier means and fuel-saving fishing methods, as well as bringing the tailing of prawns to an end in the industry and stopping the labour- intensive work around tailing’.

Neil told FN: “The way I look at it is if I can catch the prawns quicker, say in two trawls instead of three, then we’re saving fuel, we’re reducing our carbon footprint – and for me, the less time the gear is on the grounds the better.”

Of his nomination, he said: “I’m not sure if this is really happening, or if it’s a joke! But I’m really happy.”


To be awarded to a UK- or Ireland-based fisherman in the under-10m sector who has demonstrated exceptional commitment to the industry in 2023

Dan Gilbert

Dan Gilbert fishes out of Newquay, Cornwall on the Tizardlee-on PW 16, targeting mainly crab and lobster, and also crawfish.

“My dad Martin has been a fisherman for 50 years,” Dan told FN. “I was very young when he bought me my first boat, an outboard and a handful of pots. I’d get up before school to go and check the pots, and be out again after school. I’ve been fishing since I could walk and talk, really.”

Dan, whose lobsters featured on the menu at the G7 summit held in Cornwall in 2021, was nominated for his use of social media and showcasing the industry to a wider audience. “I’ve always been a fan of social media. I was on TikTok just flicking around, and decided to set a profile up. I posted the odd video and picture, and grew a following. I then decided to go ‘live’ one day – and it just blew up. I gained about 5,000 followers in one day.”

Dan says he took to TikTok to showcase what small- vessel fishing is about, and how sustainable it is. “The pots come up full of crab and lobster, but I’m also showing people how much we actually throw back.”

On hearing of his nomination, he said: “I never, ever thought I’d receive a nomination – it’s an honour.”

Douglas Chirnside

West Highland fisherman Dougie Chirnside is determined to help the industry become more sustainable.

He began creel fishing and diving for scallops in partnership with fellow industry innovator Hans Unkles in the early 1990s. In 2014, Dougie decided to go it alone – with the ambition of building his own net-zero company.

“From that point on I’ve been constantly fishing, albeit on a small scale. I’m still doing the same thing, diving for scallops mostly with a small electric fishing boat, from 2015 to just last year, when I bought a bigger boat,” he told FN.

Dougie’s new vessel, the Carraig Beag TT 172, is currently diesel-powered, but he aims to electrify the boat later this year. Fishing out of Carsaig Bay on Mull, he combines diving for scallops with a spot of creel fishing in the late winter for lobster, brown crab and velvet crab. “I’m trying to push our part of the fishing industry in a more sustainable direction. In our sector, it’s definitely possible to electrify quite a lot of the boats that fish daily and tie up every night,” he told FN.

On hearing of his nomination, Dougie said: “I’m excited at being nominated – and that’s what I’d like to be known for doing – helping industry to move in a more sustainable direction.”

Ian Wightman

Clyde fisherman Ian Wightman began his career as a ‘pier pest’, catching ropes from boats tying up and getting paid in fish – which he would fillet and then hawk around to his neighbours.

An active member and branch chairman of the Clyde Fishermen’s Association, Ian bought his first boat in 1984, when he was just 20 years old. Today, he works the Eilidh Anne GK 2, targeting Nephrops.

Ian is also heavily involved behind the scenes in promoting the industry, from working with local schools to helping showcase Scottish langoustine overseas.

Additionally, he collaborates with Stirling University, participating in a number of projects, including work to get langoustine removed from the discards ban and supplying samples for research into sentience.

In his nomination, Ian was described as having a ‘great track record for trying his best to further the reputation and marketing of langoustine in both the UK and continental markets’.

On hearing of his nomination, Ian told FN: “Somebody has thought highly enough of me to send in a nomination – so thank you very much!”

“I’m in my twilight years now, but I try to put a bit back. I’ve not made any fortunes from the fishing, but it’s looked after me – so it’s time to put something back in.”

Jack Marklew

“During the Covid pandemic, me and my partner Amy were sat around bored and sick of it all. We decided: let’s do it, let’s get a little boat, and go out and see if we can make a living from fishing,” Barrow-based Jack Marklew told FN.

Turning his back on a successful career as a CNC machinist and programmer, Jack bought a 6m Colne catamaran, Boy Oliver BW 20. Shortly after, A&J Fresh Fish Ltd was up and running, supplying Walney Island lobster, crab and mixed wet fish to the public and surrounding businesses and restaurants.

“It’s a massive learning curve for us, but we go out there, get stuck in and do our best. We’re doing side jobs to keep the money coming in for new gear and pots so we can expand, and we’re always coming up with new ideas to try.”

In his nomination, Jack was described as ‘always striving to invest more into his business, whether it’s in different types of gear or purchasing a specialist shellfish tank to enable him to keep his catch in perfect condition’.

Of his nomination, Jack said: “I’m over the moon. It’s a difficult industry to get into, but the love of doing it is everything. It’s all I want to do.”


This category will recognise a UK or Ireland-based fisherman under 30 years of age who has demonstrated outstanding skill, commitment and determination to succeed

Sponsored by Seafish

Jack Grieve

Eyemouth-based prawn fisherman Jack Grieve’s first experience in the industry came with his grandfather. “My grandad semi-retired, and started picking up some of the prawns off the boats at Eyemouth, and I started going with him,” Jack told FN. “Then, when he retired fully to look after my gran, I kept on going down to the harbour, and it took off from there.”

Now fishing for six years, 21-year-old Jack skippers and owns his boat, the 11.9m Janreen LH 144, with one crew member. “I was a bit nervous about skippering at first, but I love it now.

“It’s been tough lately. This is the first good week we’ve had since the summer – the first six or seven days we’ve been able togettoseaforafewdaysput together. Since October it’s been brutal, with storm after storm,” he said.

In his nomination, Jack was recognised for owning his own vessel at such a young age, with the nominator describing it as a ‘massive achievement’. “I think he has shown what hard work he has put in to building his business up – great work!” they said.

On hearing of the nomination, Jack said: “It wasn’t a phone call I was expecting this morning. I’ve no idea who nominated me!”

Lee Gallagher

Twenty-three-year-old Lee Gallagher fishes out of Tobermory for langoustine, crab and lobster from his own creel boat Ceol na Mara OB 5, which he has owned for nearly two years.

“I skippered a boat for around a year and a half to two years before owning my own boat,” he told FN. “I’ve been fishing full- time since I was 18 – but really, I’ve been fishing all my life. I’m a third-generation fisherman from my family – it’s in the blood!”

Lee, who was described in his nomination as ‘a highly ambitious man’, told FN that fishing was a great way to be able to work for yourself. “Fishing doesn’t really feel like a job. Every morning you’re away at 5am, you get to watch the sunrise, and steam for a few hours before you get to your gear – you just get to take it all in, and somehow, I seem to get paid for it at the end.

“Don’t get me wrong, you have bad days and bad months –butattheendofthedayitis still your business – it’s my boat. You can’t really fault it – from the minute you leave the pier it’s up to you.”

Lee told FN he felt speechless on hearing of his nomination. “It’s something I wasn’t expecting. It’s great. I’m very, very pleased.”

Sam Birt

Lyme Bay fisherman Sam Birt is no stranger to the Fishing News Awards, having scooped the Trainee Fisherman of the Year trophy back in 2021.

“It was all a bit of shock, really, when I won,” Sam told FN. “It was a big surprise. It was a virtual ceremony, because of the Covid restrictions – which was a bit unusual. The trophy is still proudly on display.”

Back then, Sam, who has been involved with the fishing industry since the age of 10, was dividing his time between fishing on the family boat, making gear, and helping out with processing in his parents’ fish shop – as well as passing his skipper’s ticket.

Three years on, and 20-year-old Sam’s career is progressing well. “We changed our boat last year and updated to the 10m Kingfisher Fastcatch Twin Sisters LI 110. I’m now skippering that with one crew. We’re whelk fishing at the moment, and also lobster and crab potting, and Dover sole netting.”

Sam, who says he is proud to be a member of the South West fishing community, was recognised in his nomination for skippering his own 10m vessel at such a young age.

“It is brilliant to be nominated again this year,” said Sam. “If I was to win again, that would be really good.”

Seamus Greene

Donegal fisherman Seamus Greene’s journey into the industry began at a very young age, spending his summers fishing for lobster. “My grandfather was a fisherman,” he told FN. “It then skipped a generation until my brother started fishing, and I began fishing alongside him when I was about seven or eight years old.

“We were fishing on our wooden punt together, and then we kept fishing every summer. My brother then upgraded his boat when I was 15. That’s when I started to get seriously into it.”

At 16, Seamus secured a job on the 12m vivier crabber Aoibh Aine SO 160, later progressing to whitefish and pelagic trawling, as well as fishing the Bay of Biscay for albacore tuna.

Now aged 19, and currently fishing on the Peadar Elaine II D 678 in the North Sea, Seamus was described in his nomination as a ‘hardworking young man’.

“I’ve just finished my skipper’s ticket. I passed all my exams, and now have a ticket,” he told FN. “I want to keep crab fishing for as long as I can.

“Hopefully in the next few years I’ll be able to start up my own thing, and buy my own boat. I have a four-year plan. In four years, I hope to be up and running with my own vessel.”


This award will recognise the most outstanding new entrant to undertake a commercial fishing training course in 2023

Sponsored by Sunderland Marine

Blake Morison

Scottish Maritime Academy (SMA) graduate Blake Morison says he’s chosen a career in fishing because he enjoys the thrill of it. “I like seeing the big hauls of fish, and the challenge of it.”

Blake currently fishes out of Peterhead on the Acionna GK 44, and is beginning to get familiar with 10-day trips. “At the start I wasn’t used to being away for so long, but I am now.”

In his nomination, Blake was described as having been on ‘something of a journey with SMA’ having enrolled as a 14-year-old as part of the college’s Skills for Work Maritime course.

“It wasn’t until he enrolled in the Trainee Deckhand course that we began to see the real Blake,” said the nomination. “Definitely more confident, he came out of his shell much more, and it was during this 12-week course that his passion towards a fishing career began to shine through.

“Upon completing the course he almost instantly secured a berth with a local boat, and feedback from his skipper reveals that he is a positive influence onboard and works hard and enthusiastically at the fishing,” they said.

Sixteen-year-old Blake, who one day hopes to skipper his own vessel, said on hearing
of his nomination: “I’m very pleased. I never expected it at all.”

Joe Osborn

A film-making fisherman with a keen eye for innovation, Joe Osborn is hoping to combine both skillsets to help champion all that’s good about the industry.

After completing a Clyde Fishermen’s Trust training course last year under the tutorship of Lachie Paterson, Joe went to work with Under-10m Fisherman nominee Dougie Chirnside on his vessel Carraig Beag TT 172, fishing out of Carsaig Bay on Mull.

With Dougie and fellow innovator Hans Unkles as neighbours, Joe has found ample opportunity to develop both his fishing and his film-making skills. “I grew up in Tayvallich with Hans and Dougie. I’ve been shooting a documentary about Hans’ electric fishing boat, and learnt a lot about electric fishing through him,” Joe told FN.

“A lot of the appeal of fishing comes from working with people like Hans and Dougie. They’re fantastic people, and pretty much whatever they’re doing, I normally tag along!”

Joe was described in his nomination as showing ‘dedication, determination and an all-round willingness to learn the job’. “He is only 23 and is looking ahead to a bright positive future in the fishing industry, both fishing from Carraig Beag and documenting lifestyles and communities through his camera lens,” they said.

“This can only be a positive move for the overall UK fishing industry.”

George Day

“I’m from Eastbourne,” 22-year-old George Day told FN. “I commute down to Brixham. It’s an eight-hour train ride each way.

“I’ve been rod and line fishing for over a decade, and I’ve always loved to fish. Then I saw the South Western Fish Producers’ Organisation course online. They called me up and said I’d been accepted – so I hopped on a train and came down.”

Since being in Brixham, George has been to sea on several vessels, including the Sylvia Bowers DS 8, Honeybourne III PD 905 and Emilia Jayne BM 10.

“I want to be a skipper down here in Brixham,” George told FN. “I’ll get my ticket from the course and then go on a couple of watches after that and take it from there – but I reckon I can go pretty far.”

In his nomination, George was described as showing real willingness to learn and being ‘always keen to get stuck in’.

“He has received really positive feedback from the vessels he has worked on, and he has shown a great commitment to the industry. He has ambitions to remain in this industry for the future,” said the nomination.

“George got involved with everything he was asked to do during his trips, and even cooked tea for the crew on one of the nights, which was really appreciated.”

Koby Foot

Brixham-based Koby Foot’s early career is progressing well, despite a challenging start to life at sea. “I was seasick,” he told FN. “It was my first ever trip out to sea. I don’t have it any more – it was just that first time.”

Since then, Koby has been out on several vessels in the Brixham fleet, including Four Sons BM 68, Danielle BM 478 and Emilia Jayne BM 10.

In his nomination, Koby was described as being ‘very hardworking’. “He has received lots of positive feedback from the skippers he has worked with, who can see him going far in this profession,” said his nominator.

Koby has also been praised by skippers for having ‘excellent communication skills and checking in before a trip, taking and reading health and safety manuals, being proactive in his communication with skippers and crew, and getting stuck in to any work which is required with enthusiasm and without needing encouragement’.

The nomination also said that Koby had ‘gotten on very well with every crew he has worked with, and has been asked to come back by crew members who enjoyed having him on’.

Koby, who one day hopes to skipper his own vessel, said he felt really happy to have been nominated. “I certainly was not expecting it,” he told FN.

Lewis Geddes

Seventeen-year-old Lewis Geddes from Peterhead was at sea when FN caught up with him to deliver the good news regarding his nomination. “It’s brilliant. I’m really chuffed,” he said.

“It’s been a good trip so far. We’re catching a lot of prawns, so I’ve been really busy.”

Lewis, who graduated from the Scottish Maritime Academy, fishes out of Fraserburgh on Shaulora BF 794. “My whole family is orientated in fishing. My grandad used to own a vessel – and he wanted me to carry on his legacy.

“Since I’ve been in this job, I’ve really enjoyed it. Some parts I don’t enjoy, but other parts I really enjoy – but you get that with every job.”

In his nomination Lewis was described as showing ‘passion and dedication in securing a berth’.

“He reached out to Jimmy Buchan for advice on securing a berth, totally off his own back, hence he has shown great initiative and is keen to work and have a career at sea,” his nomination said. “He managed to secure a berth as a complete unknown within the region, and continues to work hard with great enthusiasm.”

Lewis says he is learning a lot, and wants to continue to develop his career. “I want to be a skipper and own my own boat when I’m older – once I have more experience.


This category will recognise a UK or Irish company, person or organisation that has provided outstanding service to the fishing industry in 2023

Fishing Animateur

Fishing Animateur provides hands-on support to help identify, develop and find funding for projects with, and on behalf of, fishermen.

Working with fishermen as individuals or groups, the service aims to provide the expertise and knowledge to help fishermen achieve things they might not necessarily be able to realise on their own.

“In this respect, the animateur’s role is much more than a facilitator or co-ordinator,” explained Fishing Animateur. “Instead, it requires a relationship of trust to be established between the fishermen and the animateur to enable the animateur to gain the insight needed.”

The project, which is a direct result of the needs identified in the ‘Fishing for a Future’ report, is funded by The Seafarers’ Charity, The Fishmongers’ Company and Trinity House, and is delivered by Cornwall Rural Community Charity’s development arm CCDL Innovation Ltd.

Animateur Lowena Poole told FN: “We are a small and extremely busy team that enjoys helping the under-10m fishing fleet, especially those using static gear, who have never accessed grant funding before and need help accessing loans to bankroll their project and completing the complex paperwork required.

“We are very thankful to be nominated in the Service Provider of the Year category for this year’s Fishing News Awards.”

Paul Creed, SPX Refrigeration

Devon-based SPX Refrigeration is a refrigeration and air-conditioning specialist serving vessels in ports across Devon and Cornwall.

Paul Creed of SPX told FN: “My father-in-law Peter started the business in 1984 after leaving the Royal Navy. Being so close to Brixham, Newlyn and Plymouth, the natural progression was to move into fishing boats. He started working with a couple of vessels, and it progressed from there.

“When Peter retired 10 years ago, I carried the business on, and have grown it. We now do the majority of the fishing boats in Brixham and Plymouth, and quite a few in Newlyn as well.”

The person making the nomination said: “SPX and Paul have supported the fishing industry in Brixham, Plymouth and Newlyn, installing, maintaining and attending to breakdowns at any time of day or night to keep the fishing vessels at sea.”

Paul told FN that with refrigeration, and to a certain extent air-conditioning, so integral now to quality of catch, it was a ‘pleasure to be able to be part of that service connection’.

Of the nomination, he said: “It’s a big surprise. I know it’s a job, and that’s what we do – and we’re all in it to make some money – but it’s actually nice to be recognised as a cog in the wheel of the whole industry.”

Chris Dinham, MarineCo

The roots of Saltash-based MarineCo can be traced back more than 50 years, and a few hundred miles to the north of its current Cornwall headquarters.

Managing director Chris Dinham, who joined the company in the 1980s when it was Fishing Co-operatives UK Ltd, based in Dunfermline, told FN: “Largely at the time it was a representative organisation for fishing co-operatives. We had a small trading arm, but to survive we had to become a trader.

“We are a wholesaler – we supply chandlers. We call ourselves a chandlers’ chandler. In 2012 we changed our name from Fishing Co-operatives UK Ltd to MarineCo. That then gave us the freedom to work in a bigger market.”

A move south followed, to Saltash, which is now the centre of the business’ operations.

“Our big principle, and what drives us, is that we give somebody else the means of earning a living. If we don’t do what we’re doing, somebody doesn’t go to sea,” Chris told FN. “What we do allows somebody to pay their bills, feed their family – and that’s what motivates us the most.”

On hearing of the nomination, Chris said: “I’m genuinely shocked. Not because I don’t think we do a good job – obviously I do – but we work in our own little quiet way, and thought nobody would ever have noticed.”

Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority

The nomination for Northumberland Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (NIFCA) in this category relates to the work undertaken by the authority both before, and after, the shock proposal in June 2022 to designate Lindisfarne as one of the pilot English HPMAs.

The IFCA organised a number of public meetings in fishing ports during the public consultation phase, to gather further information and explain its own data on the area, as well as responding in detail to the consultation.

In previous years, NIFCA, with the support of the local fishing industry, had collected and published huge amounts of data on fishing effort, environmental and habitat information, and data on the socio-economic value of fishing to local communities.

“It wasn’t just that it had the data showing that we had already agreed measures that were conserving the area, and that the HPMA would take away jobs without achieving anything,” the nominator said. “It also put this data to Defra, and organised a meeting when we could see this, and add in our thoughts and views.

“NIFCA had our backs here, and used the conservation rules we already have to get the HPMA proposal kicked out.”

NIFCA chief officer Mark Southerton said: “We are very happy that the work we have done in respect of the pilot HPMA and subsequent consultation at Lindisfarne is recognised, and that someone nominated us for such a prestigious award.

“This was only possible with the efforts of the NIFCA staff, and most importantly the support of the membership.”


This new category will recognise an initiative that has brought demonstrable benefit to the industry in 2023

Land in Shetland

Operated jointly by Lerwick Port Authority and Shetland Islands Council, with support from local partners, the Land in Shetland campaign was launched to tell skippers how landing their catches in Shetland can save them ‘time, fuel, money and carbon’.

The marketing and awareness campaign, which focuses on Shetland’s state of the art fishmarkets, facilities and increased capacities, says that with a significant percentage of UK whitefish now being caught in or close to the islands’ waters, ‘it makes commercial and environmental sense to Land in Shetland’.

The campaign’s designated website ( also provides easy access to data, showing that prices for high-quality fish through the electronic auction are ‘strong when compared to other ports across the whole country’.

“It’s a privilege to have the ‘Land in Shetland’ initiative recognised by the industry,” a spokesperson for the campaign told FN.

“We have seen a 23% growth in landings from mainland- registered vessels, all benefiting from a combination of great service, top prices and data from the campaign, which informed skippers of everything the Shetland markets have to offer.

“With much of the quality whitefish caught in the UK being fished near Shetland waters, it makes sense to show skippers and owners what they can gain from landing in Shetland.”

Lyme Bay Fisherman’s CIC

The Lyme Bay Fisherman’s CIC (LBFCIC) is a pioneering organisation set up by a group
of 50 inshore fishermen who wanted to give their local industry a voice, whilst engaging more effectively with the community and government regulators.

LBFCIC is the first fishermen-led CIC and draws its membership from the small- scale fleets of the four ports of Axmouth, Beer, Lyme Regis and West Bay.

With funding via the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme and support from the Blue Marine Foundation, the organisation has created a schools outreach programme, a seafood trail, and fishy scavenger hunts involving local businesses across the four ports.

The story of the fishermen and their journey in setting up the CIC has been documented in a film, The Last Custodians, which premiered last month. Featuring the organisation’s scallop divers, potters, trawlermen, netters and rod-and-line fishermen, the film also charts their hopes and fears for the future.

LBFCIC CEO Mandy Wolfe told FN: “I could not be more delighted for our fishermen that their hard yards and efforts are being acknowledged by the industry and their peers.

“I hope this will encourage all the other fishermen around the coast thinking about doing this to dive in and create their own CICs to make sure these fragile fleets get the support they need, and their voices are heard.”

Ocean Stewardship Fund, in conjunction with the South Australian Sardine Industry Association and the Cornish Sardine Management Association

Last year, the Ocean Stewardship Fund (OSF) enabled a unique knowledge exchange between sardine fisheries on opposites sides of the world.

“Since our very first meeting, Commsave has been amazing in demonstrating understanding and flexibility to support the fishing community. Critically, the credit union has been able to arrange loans to support grant applications to the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme (FaSS).

“With the next round of FaSS now open, I urge everyone to find and the communities it supports. “In no small part due to the fantastic and powerful singing of Donald Francis MacNeil, I am very glad that the song got such a good response and played its part in getting the word out to the public, and making the politicians take notice of the anger felt out more about how Commsave can help them. They really do provide a fantastic ‘safety net’ for fishing families.”

As of December 2003, Commsave had provided more than £854,000 in low-interest loans to help 64 fishing families, including loans for match-funded government grants. across affected communities.” Angus MacPhail said he was honoured and delighted that the campaign had been nominated in the Fishing News Awards.

“This nomination, and especially if leads to an award, will bolster the message and further help to combat those who would happily see the fishing industry and coastal communities destroyed to suit their narrow, ignorant and selfish aims.

“I am very proud that a folk song, written to help protect fishing communities and sung by a 64-year-old fisherman making his recording debut, has helped to directly change government policy.”

The exchange, between the South Australian and Cornish purse seine sardine fisheries, saw fishermen from the UK and Australia come together to share knowledge, including on methods of reducing cetacean interactions, in the two fisheries.

Cornish Sardine Management Association (CSMA) chairman Gus Caslake told FN: “Hosting Claire, Mick and Verne from the South Australian Sardine Association as part of the OSF-funded ‘knowledge exchange’ visit was a real pleasure.

“Sharing knowledge and experiences from sardine fisheries on opposite sides of the world was enlightening for all involved, and we are thrilled to be nominated for this award.

“Skippers being able to chat and learn from each whilst at sea catching sardines was a highlight of the trip,” he said. “Skippers from the CSMA are very much looking forward to the return leg of the trip to Port Lincoln in May.”

South Australian sardine fishery fleet manager Claire Webber told FN: “The Marine Stewardship Council have been instrumental in supporting the initiative, and being nominated for this award is a testament to the kinship developed between the Australian and UK fisherfolk though this exchange, which is brilliant.”


Commsave is a credit union that offers secure savings and low-cost loan facilities to anyone working in the UK fishing industry.

The initiative, by The Seafarers’ Charity and Commsave Credit Union, was forged after the charity published its ‘Fishing Without a Safety Net’ research in 2020, which talked to 431 fishermen facing financial difficulties and explored how best to provide practical help and support.

The research concluded that it was essential to create a ‘safety net’ to support the personal finance and financial resilience of fishing families.

Deborah Layde, chief executive of The Seafarers’ Charity, told FN: “We are delighted to receive this nomination. It was our concern about the financial resilience of fishing families that led us to approach Commsave Credit Union.

“Since our very first meeting, Commsave has been amazing in demonstrating understanding and flexibility to support the fishing community. Critically, the credit union has been able to arrange loans to support grant applications to the Fisheries and Seafood Scheme (FaSS).

“With the next round of FaSS now open, I urge everyone to find out more about how Commsave can help them. They really do provide a fantastic ‘safety net’ for fishing families.”

As of December 2003, Commsave had provided more than £854,000 in low-interest loans to help 64 fishing families, including loans for match-funded government grants.

‘The Clearances Again’ campaign by Skipinnish and Donald Francis MacNeil

Written by Skipinnish co-founder and fisherman Angus MacPhail and featuring inshore creel fisherman Donald Francis MacNeil on lead vocals, the HPMA protest song ‘The Clearances Again’ not only stormed the charts – but also reached the ear of politicians.

“The song was written from desperation and anger this time last year,” Angus MacPhail told FN. “‘The Clearances Again’ was a desperate attempt to raise public awareness of this looming disaster for the fishing industry and the communities it supports.

“In no small part due to the fantastic and powerful singing of Donald Francis MacNeil, I am very glad that the song got such a good response and played its part in getting the word out to the public, and making the politicians take notice of the anger felt across affected communities.”

Angus MacPhail said he was honoured and delighted that the campaign had been nominated in the Fishing News Awards. “This nomination, and especially if leads to an award, will bolster the message and further help to combat those who would happily see the fishing industry and coastal communities destroyed to suit their narrow, ignorant and selfish aims.

“I am very proud that a folk song, written to help protect fishing communities and sung by a 64-year-old fisherman making his recording debut, has helped to directly change government policy.”


This category will recognise an outstanding new product or product development that has brought significant benefit to the industry in 2023


A software system developed in New Zealand to make vessel management more straightforward, Seaflux is being used by a growing number of UK vessel owners, including several of the larger companies owning several vessels.

The system allows multiple users to access layers of information – from a deckie checking certification and hours worked, through to a skipper, fleet supervisor or fleet engineer. The software aims to maximise efficient use of the vessel, keeping track of invoices, spare parts, fuel consumption and other issues, rather than simply being a way of ticking boxes that demonstrates compliance with safety codes and legal requirements.

Skipper Nick Jones, who works out of Plymouth on the 15m scalloper Sidney Rose PH 79, installed the system in October 2023. “It actually does your work for you, and makes life running the boat easier. It covers everything, from making sure you have all you need on your phone when boarded at sea – no more rummaging around looking for different pieces of paper – all the way through to safety reminders and engine maintenance.

“The software is all touchscreen, and it is about saving time and hassle, and ease of operation. I am really pleased with it. Having the data there, and available to whoever I want to share it with, has saved me loads of extra phone calls.”

Eco-i from Ecomotus

West Country-based engineering firm Ecomotus won Product of the Year at the 2022 Fishing News Awards for the EcoPro, a product that creates smart hydrogen for enriching the air in the engine air intake, facilitating a cleaner burn, reducing NOX emissions and particulate matter and improving fuel consumption.

The company has now launched the Eco-i, a platform that gives vessel owners detailed new insights into the performance of their engines, remotely monitored from their phones. The new platform also offers a mechanism to monitor fuel consumption in real time, generate carbon footprint certificates and obtain detail on the amount of hydrogen used to optimise fuel burn and performance.

The data can be easily downloaded and shared with buyers, many of whom are beginning to ask questions about emissions and fuel use as part of their corporate social responsibility policies.

Adrian Bartlett from Ecomotus said: “We’re really pleased with the new product, and equally pleased to be nominated for another Fishing News Award. This additional software application builds on the success of the EcoPro itself.

“It comes in response to a number of queries from skippers who wanted more detailed information about their engine performance, but also wanted to share their carbon data with customers, and be able to demonstrate the steps they are taking to minimise the impacts of their fishing activities.

“Zero carbon is a way off for many vessels in the fleet. As we wait for this to phase in, we are pleased to be helping the transition, and reducing the footprints of conventional vessels in the meantime.”

Seafield Navigation Turbowin 3D ground discrimination

Fraserburgh-based Seafield Navigation’s new 3D plotting system Turbowin is rapidly gaining converts across the UK industry. Providing detailed, 3D ground discrimination, backed with data from multiple sources, the charts allow skippers to fine- tune their approach, maximising the productivity of their gear on the seabed, and minimising interaction with non-target species or habitats.

It has a resolution down to an astonishing 10cm, the result of uploading over 40 trillion individual readings to the system. The scallop industry was very quick to pick up the system, but Turbowin has now been fitted to static-gear boats as small as 7m.

Whitelink Seafoods has installed the system on its new-build scalloper Eternal Promise, built at Macduff Shipyards and shortly to be featured in FN. Its sistership Eternal Light has reported ‘phenomenal success’ fishing new areas thanks to seabed details revealed by its Turbowin system.

“We took 100 bags of scallops off one small uncharted ridge,” said Ian Taylor, skipper of the Eternal Light, which he said is ‘typical’ of the benefits the new system can bring.

Another scallop skipper, working a small boat in the Clyde, said: “The 3D plotter is performing fantastic. Some of the small lumps of hard ground it’s showing up are giving me great days’ work – bits I was steaming over previously without thinking it would be suitable for scallops.”

Equally important, says Seafield’s Calum West, is that fishermen are also able to avoid interacting with any habitats that don’t produce catches, minimising their environmental footprint, as well as saving on fuel bills.


This award will be made to a fishing port, harbour or landing area in the UK or Ireland that has enhanced its services or amenities for the benefit of the industry in 2023


Fraserburgh, the UK’s top Nephrops port, also remains the home port for a large section of the Scottish pelagic fleet, underlining the range of support services available there.

Operating as a not-for-profit trust, the port received a £1.2m funding boost from Marine Fund Scotland earlier this year, to support investments by the port to strengthen the outer harbour wall, as well as fund environmental improvements that will reduce litter.

The work now being undertaken on the harbour wall will support the port’s hugely ambitious new harbour masterplan, which is designed to see the harbour support the region for the next generation. This will see enhanced infrastructure within the existing harbour area, the deepening of Faithlie Harbour and improved access to the fishmarket.

Additional investment in infrastructure to support the fishing industry will include widening the entrance to Balaclava Harbour and enhancing the existing shiplift facility, an extension to the existing breakwater, the construction of a new deepwater basin and an additional drydock capable of handling vessels up to 100m length and 25m beam.

Harbour development manager Pamela Neri told FN: “The fishing industry has been at the heart of Fraserburgh for over 200 years, and our objective is to protect the town’s fishing heritage by answering the challenges of a move towards larger or deeper- draughted vessels.

“It is critical that the structural development detailed in our masterplan will allow us to continue servicing those who berth and land at Fraserburgh, whilst attracting additional vessels to the harbour.”


Despite having a population of fewer than 200 people, Cullivoe is an essential hub for the North Sea fishing fleet, and recorded a bumper year of landings in 2023. Regularly appearing in the top ports for whitefish landings UK-wide, Cullivoe pier, operated by Shetland Islands Council, is conveniently close to the prime fishing grounds to the north of the islands, attracting an international fleet.

One nominator said: “With landings, fuel, water, ice and stores all available – as well as a first-class sales service through the newly built Scalloway fishmarket – folk in Cullivoe pride themselves on their service to the much valued fishing industry.”

Cullivoe officially opened a new 27-berth small-boat marina in 2023, allowing many more under-10m fishing boats to base themselves in the harbour and benefit from the infrastructure that has been developed to support the fleet.

Cullivoe is also a base for the wider seafood industry, with mussel production, sea angling tourism and salmon farming enjoying a strong presence there.

Small ports supervisor at Shetland Islands Council Ross Maclennan said: “We’re pleased to see Cullivoe nominated again for Port of the Year, having previously been ‘Highly Commended’ in 2018.

“Landings across all species at Cullivoe have increased from 2,745t in 2022 to 2,870t in 2023, with the value of landings reaching almost £8m. We continue to support all the users and vessels to help the port’s future growth and its contribution to the local economy.”


Shoreham Port’s operations cover a range of fishing, leisure and commercial cargo activities. A hub for construction materials, the port handles over 1.5m tonnes of aggregate, steel and timber in a typical year.

Alongside this, the port describes itself as being ‘committed and passionate’ about the fishing sector, which has operated from the locality for centuries. In 2022, fish worth over £18m was landed through the port, which is home to a diverse fleet of inshore vessels and facilitates a visiting seasonal fleet of scallopers. Fresh fish is sold directly to the public through two popular outlets based on the estate.

In 2023, Shoreham Port expanded its services for fishermen. With support from Defra, the port reopened its drydock, with the 50m facility enabling fishing vessels to undertake routine maintenance or overhauls, negating the need for costly trips further afield or across the Channel.

Port Kitchen, the port’s sustainable café, enjoyed a successful first year, serving locally sourced, quality food. The most popular menu item, its fish finger sandwich, was served over 2,000 times.

A £1.7m project has been announced to transform the existing inshore fishing marina, doubling capacity to 50 boats and increasing available quay space by 170%. The project, supported by a Defra grant, will modernise facilities, improving efficiency and safety standards.

Harbour master and director of marine operations Julian Seaman told FN: “We’re honoured to be nominated for Port of the Year, reflecting our commitment to continued collaboration with multiple partners to develop Sussex’s thriving fishing sector, driving sustainable growth and prosperity for our coastal communities.”

Vote for your winners now!

Now that you’ve read all of the shortlists for the eight categories that will be decided by FN readers, it’s time to select your favourites. Click here to cast your votes for your chosen candidates.

The shortlists for the four remaining categories in this year’s awards, which are judged by an industry panel – Over-15m Boat of the Year, Under-15m Boat of the Year, The Sustainability Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award – will appear in next week’s issue.

The winners of the 2024 Fishing News Awards will be revealed in Aberdeen and on our social media channels on the evening of 8 May – and in a special feature in the 23 May issue of Fishing News.

Find out everything you need to know about the Fishing News Awards here


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