New award launched for aquaculture's next generation


A new award has been launched to recognise the achievements of young people working in salmon and seafood farming in the UK.

The Early Career Innovators Competition organised by the Young Aquaculture Society (YAS) is part of a broader drive to highlight job opportunities in the sector.

The winner will be announced at the Aquaculture UK trade show in Aviemore in May.

Entries are now open for the competition, which is supported by Aquaculture UK organiser Diversified Communications, the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture (IoA) and trade body Salmon Scotland.

Professional growth

This initiative comes less than six months after YAS was founded by Salmon Scotland’s technical and standards manager Andrew Richardson.

YAS aims to support future leaders in seafood, shellfish, and finfish through socialising, networking, and professional growth.

Andrew Richardson: "It's truly exciting for us to introduce such a prize at this early stage of our organisation’s journey."

The winner will be featured at a special in-person event for sector professionals at Aquaculture UK, hosted by Salmon Scotland, on May 14.

They will enjoy free accommodation on the night, and the organisers will cover up to £200 for their travel to and from the event. Prizes are also available for the second and third-place runners-up.

The competition is open to members of YAS, which is free and quick to join.

Solving a problem

Participants are asked to identify a challenge or problem and pitch their solution, which must be related to aquaculture - whether on a farm, at a hatchery, in a lab, or addressing a digital challenge.

Richardson, president of YAS, said: “Early career professionals entering the field inherently bring fresh perspectives, making them well-positioned to generate impactful ideas.

“It's truly exciting for us to introduce such a prize at this early stage of our organisation’s journey, and we are grateful to the Institute of Aquaculture and Aquaculture UK for sharing our mission. We can’t wait to see some great submissions from members and get inspired.”

James Dick, technical manager at the IoA, said: “Developing a healthy and diverse network is something that will undoubtedly support professional development.

“We encourage each of our IoA students to actively practice this skill, whether their ambitions are academic or working in the sector – and Aquaculture UK is the perfect place for this.”