Nathan Pyne-Carter is interviewed after being named IoD Scotland's Director of the Year Innovation last night. Photo: Ace Aquatec.

Ace Aquatec chief named a Scotland Director of the Year

Ace Aquatec chief executive Nathan Pyne-Carter has been named Director of the Year in the Innovation category of the Institute of Directors Scotland’s annual awards.

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It is the first time there has been an innovation category among the awards, and the first time Dundee-based Ace Aquatec has entered the contest.

Pyne-Carter had also been shortlisted in two other categories – Family Business and Small-Medium Business (up to £25 million turnover).

Judges said the CEO, who is also co-owner of the aquaculture electronics innovator, “is a leader who understands and embraces innovation”.

Nice surprise

Pyne-Carter said innovation “is our core area, so if we were going to get an award that was definitely the best one to get”.

He  added: “Given that we’ve not been involved in the IoD process before we didn’t know what to expect, and you widen the pool when you go for awards not based on any specific sector, so we really didn’t know how we’d do in competition against other industries.

“Obviously there are people who are leaders in their own sector who we were going up against, and it was a really nice surprise to find that what we’re doing in the aquaculture space is perceived well and to get this acknowledgement for the hard work that we’re doing in that space.

“It’s good to see that compared to other sectors we are also standing out for our innovation and technology development.”

Ace Aquatec managing director Nathan Pyne-Carter receives the firm's first Queen's Award in the presence of Dundee Lord Provost Ian Borthwick and, back from left, Ace Aquatec team members Andrew Gillespie, Michelle Wildboer and Mike Forbes. Click on image to enlarge. Photo: Ace Aquatec.

Queen’s Awards

Last night’s award – which came only three months after the company joined the IoD - is the latest in a number of accolades for Ace Aquatec and it may have even more on its mantlepiece soon. In April the company received the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Innovation for the second year in a row, for its Humane Stunner Universal (HSU) which stuns fish while they are still in the water.

And its electric fish, a fake dead salmon that scares predatory seals away from salmon cages by giving them an electric shock, is on the shortlist in the Animal Welfare category of this year’s Aquaculture Awards which will be held at Dynamic Earth, Edinburgh next Wednesday, May 29.

People’s Choice nominee

Pyne-Carter is also one of five individuals shortlisted for the People’s Choice award at the event.

Ace Aquatec’s core business is acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs) to deter seals from attacking salmon pens, but it has also had increasing success with its HSU, which it was promoting at Seafood Expo Global in Brussels earlier this month.

Stunning fish and crustaceans while they’re still in the water allows a more humane method of slaughter and better meat quality, as the animals produce less of the stress hormone cortisol.

The company also supplies a 3D biomass camera and has recently begun marketing its electric fish internationally. The device is expected to appeal to fish farmers in countries where ADD use is strictly limited or banned.