We’re pleased to announce that the Sustainability Award has a new sponsor. The Marine Stewardship Council has stepped up to sponsor the category this year – though it is not entirely new to the award.

As with the Boat of the Year categories and the Lifetime Achievement Award, this category is decided by a panel of expert judges, to which the MSC has contributed for a number of years.

The Sustainability Award recognises and celebrates efforts which are focused on innovative solutions to improving sustainability and environmental outcomes within the UK or Irish fishing industries.

Nominations must demonstrate a unique and innovative response to an environmental sustainability issue within the UK or Irish industry, demonstrate that the project has gone above and beyond standard practice, and provide evidence of its impact.

The judges will particularly be looking for projects that have the potential to influence a significant change in behaviour and/or that have inspired broader awareness and/or engagement.

Lisa Bennett, MSC UK and Ireland senior fisheries outreach manager, said: “Having been part of the judging panel in previous years, MSC is very proud to strengthen its partnership with Fishing News and its readers by sponsoring the Sustainability Award for the first time this year.

“As one of the judges on the panel, I look forward to reviewing the nominations for the Sustainability Award. Improving sustainability in fishing is essential, not only to protect fish stocks and the marine environment, but to protect livelihoods across the industry.”

The panel will be independently chaired, with the judges scoring each of the four shortlisted entrants on a range of criteria, before meeting to agree on the winner.

The four judges between them bring a vast range of expertise and experience across all aspects of fisheries.

Panel chair Dr Bryce Stewart is an Australian marine ecologist and fisheries biologist whose work has ranged from temperate estuaries to tropical coral reefs and the deep sea. He gained a PhD in marine biology from James Cook University, before moving to the UK in 1999.

The central driver of his research has been to gain an increased understanding of marine species and ecosystems to help balance the provision of fisheries with conservation. He regularly advises the UK government, and works with a broad range of stakeholders including commercial and recreational fishermen, conservationists and the seafood industry.

After many years as a senior lecturer at York University, he recently took up a new post as a senior research fellow at the Marine Biological Association in Plymouth.

MSC UK and Ireland senior fisheries outreach manager Lisa Bennett is a fisheries sustainability manager with a background in marine research, policy development nd fisheries compliance in Australia and Madagascar. She currently works with a diverse array of UK stakeholders to help drive sustainability improvements across UK fisheries.

David Warwick is the fishing gear innovation manager at Seafish, helping to develop gear that reduces bycatches, lowers fuel consumption and helps to improve the carbon footprint in wild-capture fisheries. David has been at Seafish for four years, and was previously a commercial fisherman for 32 years.

Hannah Fennell, president of the Scottish Fishermen’s Federation and head of the Orkney Fisheries Association, is currently undertaking a PhD exploring the impacts of static fishing gear.

This story was taken from the latest issue of Fishing News. For more up-to-date and in-depth reports on the UK and Irish commercial fishing sector, subscribe to Fishing News here or buy the latest single issue for just £3.50 here

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