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Marine Harvest MD Ben Hadfield, centre, with members of staff after a victorious night in Aviemore. Photo: FFE
Marine Harvest MD Ben Hadfield, centre, with members of staff after a victorious night in Aviemore. Photo: FFE

Marine Harvest Scotland scooped a trio of accolades at the Scottish Marine Aquaculture Awards in Aviemore last night, during a ceremony in which Scottish Sea Farms employee Sarah Last was named the first female Finfish Farm Manager of the Year.

Sarah Last was named Finfish Farm Manager of the Year. Phto: FFE
Sarah Last was named Finfish Farm Manager of the Year. Phto: FFE

Marine Harvest won Best Aquaculture Company Award, and the firm’s work with the local community on the Isle of Rum also earned it the top prize in the Community Initiative category. 

MH Scotland’s environmentally friendly project to improve salmon gill health using different types of nets won the Innovation Award after impressive results with pilot projects on Skye and the Western Isles.

 Managing director Ben Hadfield said: “We are delighted to have won these awards which are testament to the skill and dedication of our whole team at Marine Harvest. We produce top quality salmon which is in huge demand across the world, often in challenging conditions, and it is fantastic to see our hard work recognised.”

SSF’s Last also produces salmon in challenging conditions, in the most northerly of the company’s mainland farms in the Summer Isles.

Last, 31, entered fish farming six years ago on the bottom rung of the career ladder, general husbandry, after six years in construction, where she had been a director of a small to medium-sized company.

“It’s a very different ball game, very different to construction. It is more challenging,” said Last.

“It’s the hardest career I’ve had.”

Although Last is adamant that women can perform the traditionally male role as well as men, she says suitability for fish farming is down to the individual, not their gender.

 “This is a really honourable place to be, to be a woman in this environment,” she said. “People say to me ‘you are in a male environment’, but some men are not suited for it and some women are not suited for it.

“The guys on site know I can do the job and I have their respect. It’s the game changer.”

The other results were:

  • Aquaculture Seafood Product of the Year: Moules Frites, Scottish Shellfish Marketing Group Ltd
  • Shellfish Farm Manager of the Year: Robert Lamont, Loch Ryan Oyster Fishery Company Ltd
  • Stewardship and Sustainability: National Lobster Hatchery
  • Rising Star: Lynne Frame, Scottish Sea Farms, and Scott MacKay, AKVA group Scotland
  • Business development: AKVA group Scotland
  • Aquaculture Supplier of the Year: Inverlussa Marine Services
  • Outstanding Contribution to Industry: Stewart Graham, Gael Force Group
  • People’s Choice: Stuart Cannon, Kames Fish Farming
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