The Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards is back in the swim for 2018. Photo: Salmonexpert.
The Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards is back in the swim for 2018. Photo: Salmonexpert.

Judges named for revived aquaculture awards

The judging panel for the revived Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards has been announced. The eight-person panel has been selected for its breadth of knowledge of the varied aspects of the UK aquaculture industry and includes well-known figures chosen to provide insights from both industrial and academic perspectives.


“We are pleased to be able to call on the expert opinions of so many high profile figures from both the aquaculture industry and academia,” says awards organiser Susan Tinch. “And we feel the breadth of experience that our judges can bring into play will allow them to make highly qualified decisions on which entries deserve a place on the shortlist for each of our 12 categories.”

The judges are Alex Adrian, aquaculture operations manager, Crown Estate Scotland; Martin Gill, MD of food and drink risk consultants Acoura; Jim Treasurer, research director at Benchmark's FAI Ardtoe marine research centre; experienced aquaculture journalist Rob Fletcher; Professor Neil Hazon, director of the Sustainable Aquaculture Course at the University of St Andrews; Nicki Holmyard, aquaculture journalist and communications chief for Offshore Shellfish Ltd; Dr Sunil Kadri of Hatch Blue – the world’s first aquaculture accelerator; and event organiser Susan Tinch.

Best practice, innovation and dedication

Nicki Holmyard: "Delighted to be asked." Photo: LinkedIn
Nicki Holmyard: "Delighted to be asked." Photo: LinkedIn

“I was delighted to be asked to be involved in the judging panel for the awards, which recognise best practice, innovation, dedication and the considerable achievements made by the aquaculture sector in recent years,” said Holmyard, who will also be on judging duty at the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers' conference in Oban at the end of this month.

“I have been involved in aquaculture for 30 years, both as a shellfish farmer and an industry journalist, and I am pleased to be able to use my experience and knowledge to help reward the brightest and best in our sector.”

When examining the individual entries, the judges will consider the criteria identified for each category. Following consideration of all entries, the judging panel will identify shortlists for each category, from which the winners will be selected.

Environmental record

“I am keen to be involved, to see the quality of the produce, the best of good practice, the innovation, sustainability and good environmental record of each nominee,” said  Treasurer. “These will be the main facets being looked at but there will also be other criteria such as quality of staff development and training, the good management and tidiness of the sites, the team spirit and ethos of each farm, the importance of fish welfare, the ability to innovate, and the ability to collaborate with other companies and individuals.”

Nine of the 12 categories in the awards will be the same as in 2015, while three new categories have been added for 2018 – Shellfish Farmer of the Year, Rising Star and the People’s Choice. The latter will be chosen by a public vote.

Important showcase

Alex Adrian: Previously on the judging panel. Photo: Crown Estate.
Alex Adrian: Previously on the judging panel. Photo: Crown Estate.

“I’m keen that the awards are being continued because they are an important showcase for the continuous innovation shown by aquaculture businesses – both for wider public and for the industry itself,” said Adrian, who was previously on the judging panel when the awards were run by Crown Estate Scotland. The awards, last held in 2015, have now been re-started and revamped by publisher 5m, owned by Benchmark.

A full list of categories and details of how to enter the awards can be found at

A formal call for entries will open in December with the closing date for entries Monday, March 5, 2018.

The shortlists will be announced in early April and followed by the awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 23, 2018 during the Aquaculture UK exhibition in Aviemore.