TWO Southern leaders in seafood sustainability were named winners of the first New Zealand Seafood Sustainability Awards in their category.
More than 50 entries were received across six categories and Southland business Gravity Fishing and the CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc were named as finalists in February.
Gravity Fishing was nominated for the market innovation and value added award for its promotion of zero waste category, its owner Nate Smith won the emerging leader award.
Mr Smith said the most important thing was they were “doing this to look after the fishery starts there”.
As opposed to a quota, they listened to what the fishery in its area could sustain being taken out year-round, he said.
The future involved downscaling the Gravity Fishing operation to focus solely on the customers he could physically drive to himself, Mr Smith said.
The CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc promoted initiatives focused on fishery and environmental management, and was nominated for the operational innovation award and kaitiakitanga award. On the night, it won the operational innovation award.
Chief executive Malcolm Lawson said the award recognised 20 years of work in developing a management strategy for the CRA8 fishery.
“It’s a testament to the industry and that the whole industry has supported this approach.”
The strategy resulted in a healthy fishery which could work to the demand of the market, he said.
While the awards were meant to be held in March, the event was pushed back until Monday night, with Fisheries Minister Stuart Nash congratulating the winners at Parliament.
“I established the awards to recognise and celebrate those throughout industry, tangata whenua and communities who demonstrate outstanding dedication and innovation towards the sustainability of New Zealand’s seafood sector,” he said.
Operational Innovation Award: The CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc
The Lee-Fish Limited Award for Market Innovation and Value Added: New Zealand King Salmon Co Ltd
Kaitiakitanga Award: Richard Wells
Supreme Sustainability Award: Richard Wells
Emerging Leader Award: Nate Smith
Minister of Fisheries Award: Rosemary Hurst, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research