Nominations for this year’s Fishing News Awards close next Monday – make sure that your choices don’t miss out! Who do you want to see on the podium at this year’s awards ceremony?

The only awards event dedicated to recognising achievement, innovation and success in the UK and Irish commercial fishing industry, the Fishing News Awards will crown winners in 10 categories this year.

All nominations need to be received by midnight on Monday, 13 February – so click here to put your nominations forward!

Shortlists will then be drawn up before voting opens for five of the categories: Over-10m Fisherman of the Year, Under-10m Fisherman of the Year, Trainee Fisherman of the Year, Service Provider of the Year and Port of the Year.

A panel of judges from the fishing industry will decide the winners of the remaining five categories: Young Fisherman of the Year, Boat of the Year, Innovation of the Year, The Sustainability Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The celebratory Fishing News Awards evening on 11 May will begin with a drinks reception, followed by a top-class UK-caught seafood meal with wine – after which acclaimed young Scottish comedian Stephen Buchanan will take the stage to entertain guests and reveal the winners of the 2023 awards.

Tickets for the evening, which can be bought singly or as tables of 10, are on sale now – book yours here.

Catch up with last year’s award winners!

Isla Gale – 2022 Trainee Fisherman of the Year

Isla Gale, last year’s Trainee Fisherman of the Year and now well on her way to skippering.

“We’re getting our quota every day, which is really good going at the minute,” Isla Gale told Fishing News when we caught up with her last week.

It’s not only the fishing that’s good for Isle of Man-based Isla – her career has also been progressing well. “I’m a year ahead in my apprenticeship. It’s down to three years now,” says Isla, who fishes on the Shannon Kimberley RY 169.

The ultimate aim is for Isla to take on the boat on a full-time basis. “My skipper is looking at me taking the boat at the very end of this year – just taking it for a few days, to start getting used to it.”

Since winning the award, Isla says she has received more exposure, and interest in her choice of career. Her success has also inspired some of her friends, as well as opening their eyes to the industry and the work involved.

“A few people have tried fishing, and that’s all you can ask, really. If they try it, and they don’t like it, that’s fine – but at least they’ve tried it.

“My friends understand a bit more about what I do now. We’ve had people onboard filming us, so they’ve seen the videos. That’s really good.

“I’ve also had a lot more people support me, and respect me due to the fact they’ve seen what I do on a daily basis.”

For her nomination, Isla was described as ‘always giving 100%’. Reflecting on her award win, Isla says that even now, she is still in shock. “It’s such a massive thing for me,” she said.

“I loved every minute of it. It was amazing. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and experience.”

The all-important winner’s trophy is proudly on display in Isla’s living room. “It’s a firm reminder that the hard work is worth it.

“I’d just like to thank everyone who supported and voted for me. It means so much – even a year later.”

Ecomotus – 2022 Product of the Year

Jason Munro of Ecomotus collecting the Product of the Year trophy at last year’s awards.

Things have been progressing really well for Jason and Kirstyn Munro and Adrian Bartlett of Ecomotus.

The South West-based company’s EcoPro, designed primarily to cut emissions, with the additional benefits of reducing fuel consumption and wear on the engine, won Product of the Year at last year’s Fishing News Awards.

“The latest vessel we’ve installed on is Dave Steven’s Crystal Sea at Newlyn, a Macduff boat
of two years old. She’s making brilliant savings and reducing emissions, and that’s on a two-year-old new engine,” Adrian Bartlett told Fishing News.

Fisheries and Seafood Scheme (FaSS) funding, which is still open and provides 50% funding for over-12m vessels, and 80% for under-12m boats, in England, is also having a positive impact.

“We’re getting more and more enquiries,” says Adrian Bartlett. “We’re having some really good discussions with English fishing companies, working towards FaSS funding. “We don’t have any issues at all working within the industry, whether it’s a small PO or a single- handed fisherman. A little four-cylinder Perkins has the same opportunity to be going green as the big V12s, or the big straight 8s.

“All the vessels that we’ve installed on, they’re all working brilliantly well. We can now remotely operate these systems from a mobile phone or laptop, and we can monitor things more easily, and adjust to different fishing types, or the weather, or tides. It’s a very, very good interactive system,” he said.

“We’ve also managed to secure some funding up in Scotland. Marine Fund Scotland is releasing funding for some of the islands, and we start installing at the end of this month and the beginning of March up in Scotland.”

Jason Munro told Fishing News that the business currently has £300,000- worth of orders for the EcoPro, due for installation over the coming months.

“Following a few hiccups with the MCA, the EcoPro is now fully accredited,” he said. “It’s now a case of onwards and upwards.”

Of winning the award, both Jason and Adrian say that they are ‘extremely proud’, and thanked everyone who voted for them.


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