South West Shines in Fishing News Awards

The fishing industry in the South West has been recognised, as individuals and businesses from the region landed five prizes in the UK’s only awards ceremony celebrating the commercial fishing industry, the Fishing News Awards.

A strong performance from the region saw success in a range of categories. Brixham once again enjoyed success in 2017, holding on to its crown of ‘Port of the Year’, thanks to its comprehensive range of services and high quality, diverse and sustainable produce.

Brackan Pearce, skipper of Mevagissey-based Spirited Lady III, sailed to victory in the ‘Demersal Fisherman of the Year’ category, while Mark Pender of Tradewinds R 14, based on Bryher, in the Isles of Scilly, was a joint winner of ‘Shellfish Fisherman of the Year’ for his use of static gear, such as lobster pots.

Mobile fishmonger, Simon Lane, landed the award for ‘Independent Fresh Fish Retailer of the Year’, with voters impressed with the freshness and variety of his fish sourced from Brixham and sold throughout the surrounding area from his van.

In addition, the skippers, owner and crew of the Cornwall-based vessel Crystal Sea SS 118 have been honoured with a new Special Contribution Award in the Technical Innovation Category in recognition of their work on behalf of the fishing industry, in trialling new technologies to reduce discards of fish.

The awards were presented at a ceremony in Aberdeen on 25 May, hosted by comedian Rory Bremner.

On the South West’s success, Bremner commented: “These awards really do emphasise the strength of the fishing industry across the UK and Ireland. Seeing success come from all corners, with the South West securing five awards, just proves the strength up and down the nation. Brixham in particular should be a source of pride for the area, picking up back-to-back victories in such a competitive field.”

The Fishing News Awards celebrate the men and women who work long hours, often in extremely difficult conditions, to put healthy and sustainable food on our tables.

David Linkie, editor of Fishing News, said: “The South West has really thrived over the past 12 months, and landing five awards just shows how strong the region is across multiple categories. With awards for best port, best fishermen and best retailer, it really highlights the quality of the local industry from the sea to the plate.”

Thousands of votes were cast across 10 categories by members of the public, with the Lifetime Achievement, Outstanding Contribution and the Young Fisherman of the Year categories being decided by a dedicated panel.

Fishing remains one of the UK’s most challenging occupations, with almost 12,000 fishermen still setting out to catch the 756,000 tonnes of seafood landed by British vessels each year.

For more information about the awards and this year’s winners, visit fishingnews.co.uk/awards