FISHERMEN employing environmentally friendly fishing techniques and a school's campaign to ensure kids learn to love healthy seafood were just two of the award winners at last night's glittering Seafood Awards ceremony in London.
Organised by industry body Seafish, this year's Seafood Awards attracted a record number of entries in 16 different awards categories highlighting the determination of the seafood industry to develop sustainably and to raise standards.
Held every two years, there were a number of new award categories for 2007, including the Sustainable Future Award, the UK Seafood Chef of the Year and the Schools Supporting Seafood Award.
The winner of the hotly contested Sustainable Future Award was the South West Handline Fishermen's Association and Seafood Cornwall for their Handline Bass and Pollack Tagging Scheme. The scheme allows consumers to recognise handline-caught fish and even enables them to find out which fisherman has caught that fish.
The judges felt that the concept was worthy of the award for its strong sustainability message with top quality traceability.
Cornish line-caught seabass also won an award for Morrisons in the Best Whitefish Seafood Product category.
Andrew Dewar-Durie, Seafish Chairman said: "We were amazed by the number and range of entries for the Sustainable Future Award, which came from all corners of the industry - from restaurants to processors, and fishing boats to multiple retailers. This response really demonstrates our industry's commitment to sustainability from sea right through to plate."
Winner of the Schools Supporting Seafood Award was Bradford Primary School in Holsworthy, Devon. School cook Lucy Johns was recognised for her crusade to ensure all children at the school learn to love seafood. She carefully selects the fish she uses in school meals, always keeping the tastes of young children and the nutritional content in mind.
Waitrose scooped the Seafood Multiple Retailer of the Year Award and Somerset fishmonger, Don Jones Fresh Fish won the Seafood Independent Retailer of the Year award.
Other award winners included Shetland-based Johnson Sustainable Seafoods in the Aquaculture Producer category, well-known for being the world's first producer of organic farmed cod. Stefan Glinski's Fresh & Freeze Company in Cornwall won the Catching for the Market Award for its range of enlightened fishing policies including 'fishing to order'.
UK Seafood Chef of the Year was Jim Cowie of The Captain's Galley Restaurant in Scrabster, Caithness, whose dishes are made from sustainable seafood caught in season and sourced from within a 50-mile radius of the restaurant. The WestBeach Restaurant in Bournemouth won the Seafood Restaurant of the Year Award, with the Seaforth Inn in Ullapool being voted best Seafood Pub.
The Seafood Awards 2007 also brought real success for the UK's biggest seafood company, Young's Seafood. Not only was it a winner in one of the Best Seafood Award Product categories, but it also won the prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award for its contribution to the industry.
The awards ceremony was held in London at the Marriott Hotel in Grosvenor Square. Full details of the awards can be found at www.seafish.org/seafoodawards
www.fishupdate.com is published by Special Publications. Special Publications also publish FISHupdate magazine, Fish Farmer, the Fish Industry Yearbook, the Scottish Seafood Processors Federation Diary, the Fish Farmer Handbook and a range of wallplanners.
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