Chief Executive of Seafood New Zealand Tim Pankhurst said the conference, titled Oceans of Innovation, was a celebration of the exciting developments in the industry over the past few years, most of which were not well known.
“Some of the recipients of the Seafood Stars Awards played a significant part in the world-leading, cutting edge technology that is making a real difference to the way commercial fishing targets what it needs and is lessening its environmental footprint,” said Pankhurst.
The three categories in the 2017 Seafood Stars Awards are; Future Development Innovation Award, Young Achiever Award, and Longstanding Service Award.
“The winner of the Future Development Award goes to Nelson’s Cawthron Institute which, over the past 17 years has been at the forefront of marine science. In particular, we would like to celebrate the development and implementation of their analytical method for the detection of paralytic shellfish toxins, which can cause human illness. The method developed by Cawthron detects toxicity faster and generates greater certainty in results. It is currently undergoing international validation,” said Pankhurst.
The award was accepted by Serean Adams, on behalf of the Cawthron Institute.
“The winner of the Young Achiever Award is Dr Tom McCowan, a marine biologist for the Paua Industry Council who is currently heavily involved in the research response to the Kaikoura earthquake, the results of which will be critical to the future management of the badly damaged fishery. Tom did his doctorate work in Tory Channel paua genetics and in the few years he has been in the industry he has accomplished a great deal and, in the process gained enormous respect,” said Pankhurst.
The award for longstanding service is presented to a person who has made a substantial difference to the seafood industry over many years – and this year four people are being presented with the award.
“That we have four individuals in this category this year is testament to the breadth of experience in the industry and it is a pleasure to be able to recognise them,” said Pankhurst.
The four are Fisheries Scientist Graham Patchell, Graeme Coates and Jim Jenkins of the Marine Farming Association, and Sean McCann, President of the New Zealand Fishing Guild.
“Graham Patchell, or Patch, has given a life-long service to the industry and has made a significant difference in informing science-based management of our fisheries. In particular, he played a pivotal role in the recovery of New Zealand’s orange roughy fishery. He has deep industry respect.
“Graeme Coates has been at the forefront of marine farming for 37 years and has also helped establish aquaculture training schools in New Zealand and Australia. His contributions have helped shaped the development of the industry and contributed to the major economic success it is today.
“Jim Jenkins was instrumental and influential in the beginnings of the mussel farming industry, drawing up sites and helping people submit licences for the new farms. He also developed a forecast model for spat and went on to introduce the long line method of marine farming. Some 45 years later and Jim is still passionate about the industry.
“Sean McCann, who retires from the Fishing Guild this year, has contributed uncountable hours of his personal time supporting the commercial fishing industry. At 70 years old Sean has been President of the Guild for 31 years and is still commercial fishing after 45 years.
“Congratulations to all our Seafood Stars,” said Pankhurst.