Scottish Sea Farms vet Alison Brough was named WiSA's rising star for 2024.

The magnificent seven

Aquaculture's female talent celebrated by awards to six women (and one man) 

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Women in Scottish Aquaculture (WiSA) has announced with the winners of its annual awards which celebrate the important role of female talent in the valuable seafood production sector and its supply chain.

Coinciding with International Women’s Day – and the fifth anniversary of the WiSA network’s launch – the awards recognise those making an impact across five categories. Nominations from WiSA’s almost 400 members were judged by an independent panel, with winners announced during a virtual ceremony held online today.

WiSA’s rising star of 2024 award went to Alison Brough, fish veterinarian at Scottish Sea Farms, for her contribution to sector-wide advancements in fish health and welfare over the past year. Alongside her day job, Alison is the current secretary of the Fish Veterinary Society, which held its annual conference in Newbridge, Edinburgh, this week. She is also involved in other groups such as the Young Aquaculture Society.

Innovative sector

When asked what motivated her to become involved in aquaculture, Brough said: “After graduating from Liverpool University School of Veterinary Science in 2017, I worked in farm animal practice so had experience of herd health planning and strategic veterinary involvement but had never considered aquaculture until I saw the Scottish Sea Farms advert.

“It’s such a new and innovative sector and when I spoke to people about it, they said it’s a great time to be part of it, with so many changes happening.

“I’m from a farming background so food production means a lot to me, and aquaculture has huge potential when it comes to producing sustainable food. That was the biggest draw for me.”

Bakkafrost Scotland's Kim McKinnell was named role model of the year.
Clémence Fraslin of the Roslin Institute was named academic champion.
Daniel Carcajona's support earned him recognition as WiSA's male Ally of the Year.

Kimberley McKinnell, head of health at Bakkafrost Scotland, was named role model of the year, recognising her commitment to nurturing the next generation of aquaculture professionals through mentoring and leadership.

Academic champion

Clémence Fraslin of the Roslin Institute was named academic champion for her work as leader of the aquaculture genetics group, focusing on disease resistance in Atlantic salmon and rainbow trout.

Daniel Carcajona, business development manager at SAMS Enterprise, was recognised as WISA’s ally of the year for his continued support for women in aquaculture and enthusiasm for highlighting the impact of female-led companies and research groups.

Sarah Riddle, of Northern Light Consulting.
Anne Anderson, head of sustainability at Scottish Sea Farms.
Heather Jones, chief executive of SAIC.

Sarah Riddle, managing director of Northern Light Consulting; Anne Anderson, head of sustainability and development at Scottish Sea Farms and Heather Jones, CEO of SAIC, were also recognised for their outstanding contribution to diversity and inclusion in the sector.

Anderson, who previously worked for trade body Salmon Scotland and before that for the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA), said: “Scottish farmed salmon is a sector I’m hugely passionately about, and I have put a lot on the line professionally to champion it as a sustainable food source.

‘I’m realistic, though, that the journey to ensuring those green credentials are better understood will be long, with progress coming in small steps, requiring focus and resilience. So, learning that my peers see a positive difference from the work I’m involved in is a welcome boost and a further reminder of why I’m doing what I do.”

The need for balance

The WiSA network – which was founded by the Sustainable Aquaculture Innovation Centre (SAIC) on International Women’s Day 2019 – represents all areas of the sector from producers and the supply chain to academia and continues to champion the diverse range of career opportunities for women in aquaculture.

Teresa Garzon, chair of WiSA, said: “The annual WiSA awards provide us with a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women in the sector who are helping to promote diversity and deliver impact in their respective fields.

“While great progress is being made in terms of inclusion, International Women’s Day is a reminder of the need for balance and support for women and girls in every workplace. Over the past five years, we have seen WiSA making a real impact, bringing together women in the sector for professional collaboration, networking, and career growth.”