From rising stars to industry stalwarts: winners of the Aquaculture Awards 2024

A total of 13 winners were picked from this year's record number of entries, awarded for innovation, sustainability, husbandry, service, and personal contributions to the aquaculture sector.
The winners of the Aquaculture Awards 2024.

The winners of the Aquaculture Awards 2024.

Photo: Paul Campbell

The winners of the Aquaculture Awards 2024 were announced on Wednesday night at a grand dinner held during the Aquaculture UK trade show, in Aviemore, Scotland.

The event, hosted by comedian Fred MacAulay, attracted a full house from across the sector to honour the outstanding achievements of individuals and companies in aquaculture.

Individual winners: from "rising stars" to industry stalwarts

The evening kicked off with the Rising Star award, which was shared by David Lipcsey, an IT engineer at Scottish Sea Farms, and Silvia Viale, a regional health manager at Mowi. Lipcsey was commended for his technical skills and proactive approach, while Viale was praised for her dedication, passion, and resilience.

Thomas Begg of Bakkafrost Scotland was named Farmer of the Year for his lifelong dedication and leadership in the sector, while Dr. Ralph Bickerdike of Scottish Sea Farms was honored as the Unsung Hero for his commitment to fish welfare and long track record of collaborative research.

John Holmyard of Offshore Shellfish won Best Producer of the Year for his pioneering work in offshore mussel farming, while Sarah Riddle of Northern Light Consulting received the Judges' Special Recognition award for her exceptional contributions to the sector, described as "a one-woman dynamo".

Finally, Gilpin Bradley, former CEO of Wester Ross Fisheries and considered one of the pioneers of aquaculture in Scotland, was celebrated with the one of the night's top accolades, the Outstanding Contribution to the Industry award, for his advocacy and influence in Scottish salmon farming.

Companies large and small awarded for innovation, sustainability and service

In the Collaboration category, Ace Aquatec and Tiny Fish won for their innovative approach to reducing waste and enhancing the circular economy by converting unviable fish into safe ingredients for pet food and fish oil.

Ace Aquatec had a particularly good night, also securing the Innovation award for its A-Biomass camera, which uses AI and machine learning to track fish health and welfare.

Bakkafrost received the Animal Welfare award for its comprehensive Welfare Awareness programme, while Mowi Scotland won the Community Initiative award for its significant local support efforts, totalling £633,000 in one year.

Inverlussa Marine Services, a family-run workboat operator based in Mull, was recognized as Aquaculture Supplier of the Year for its pivotal role in the growth of the salmon farming sector, through its investment in boats, technology and people.

The Sustainability award went to net supplier W&J Knox for pioneering recyclable predator netting, while the Best New Start-up award was given to ChucaoTech, a Chilean company known for its nanobubble technology that improves fish health and minimizes environmental impact.

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