There’s less than a fortnight to the deadline for nominations for this year’s Fishing News Awards – don’t miss your chance to enter your choices! Who do you want to see honoured at this year’s awards?

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 get yours in now!

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.

To put forward your nominations, click here.

Catch up with last year’s award winners!

Rowan Davies – 2022 Young Fisherman Of The Year

Much has changed for Rowan Davies since being named Young Fisherman of the Year in May 2022.

“Things are progressing really well,” he told Fishing News last week. “My dad has officially retired now, so that’s me made up to skipper.”

Twenty-six-year-old Rowan, from Dunbar, says that being skipper of the family vessel Spitfire, a traditional prawn trawler, was a long-cherished ambition.

“Becoming a skipper is something that I’ve been dreaming about for the past 12, 13 years,” he said. “I’m in my fourth month as skipper now, and it’s all going really well. I’m loving every minute of it. I’m carrying on the family tradition, on a boat that’s been in the family for generations.”

Since taking over the boat, Rowan says that the fishing has been ‘phenomenal’. “It’s been really good fishing. As long as it keeps up, that’s the main thing.”

Nominated for his ‘outstanding commitment to the job and the boat, and for giving up his free time to learn and better himself every day’, Rowan says that even now, some months on from being named a Fishing News Awards winner, he is still ‘in absolute shock’.

“The trophy is sitting in my trophy cabinet in my living room. Every single morning when I’m getting ready for work I take a wee glance at the trophy, just to think back about how good a night it was,” he said.

“It was an amazing event, it really was.”

Ashley Mullenger – 2022 Under-10m Fisherman Of The Year

“Last year really was an award for the girls,” says Ashley Mullenger.

“Isla Gale winning Trainee Fisherman of the Year and me taking Under-10 Fisherman of the Year was such a ground- breaking thing for this industry, and for women everywhere who want to feel empowered to be able to do anything.”

The accolades for Ashley and Isla made national headlines, with the choice of job title proving a particular topic of interest for some (Fishing News, 2 June, 2022, ‘The job title is fisherman’).

“The media circus that ensued was pretty bananas,” said Ashley, who found herself in demand by media outlets to debate the inclusive or non-inclusive merits of the term ‘fisherman’.

“There was the whole debate around fisherman/ fisherwoman. It all got a bit woke. But it was a lot of fun. I got to meet Jeremy Vine for BBC Radio Two, which was very nice.”

Ashley says that from first hearing of her Fishing News Awards nomination, through to being shortlisted, and then ultimately winning the coveted trophy, it was a great experience.

“I was so overjoyed and proud to have been nominated and then shortlisted,” she said. “For people to think, or to have noticed, that I was doing something worthwhile within the industry was in itself amazing.

“The awards ceremony was a really lovely event. It was great. We’d just come out of Covid as well. A lot of people in the industry that I had interacted with on various Zoom calls were all just faces on screens. So it was really nice to be able to actually meet some of those people in person.”

Ashley was described in her nomination as ‘championing the small- scale under-10m fleet, and doing as much as she can through social media and various other media outlets to raise awareness for the seafood right here in the UK’.

She told Fishing News that she might be making some nominations of her own this year. “I’m not going to name any names, but it’s something I’m mulling over.”

The 2023 Fishing News Awards awards will once again take place at the prestigious new venue of The Chester Hotel in Aberdeen. Book your tickets here.



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