New Zealand Seafood Sustainability Awards

The finalists for New Zealand Seafood Sustainability Awards 2020 have been announced.

Update – 25 June 2020

Seafood Sustainability Awards to be held on 3 August 2020

After a long postponement due to COVID-19, Fisheries New Zealand has rescheduled the Seafood Sustainability Awards. These will now be held in the Grand Hall of Parliament on 3 August, starting at 5.30 pm. Finalists have been invited to the event which will include a formal dinner to recognise their achievements. Winners will be announced on the night.

We would like to acknowledge all those who helped support this initiative, including:

  • our judging panel
  • awards finalists
  • sponsors
  • staff.

We were inspired to launch the Seafood Sustainability Awards in September 2019. The awards celebrate those who are actively working to advance and improve sustainability and innovation in the seafood sector. This event is a testament to our finalists, who are taking the initiative every day to deliver a more sustainable future for New Zealand's seafood. We appreciate all the hard work.

If you have any questions, email seafood.awards@mpi.govt.nz

New Zealand Seafood Sustainability Award finalists 2020

Fisheries New Zealand is delighted to announce the finalists of the inaugural New Zealand Seafood Sustainability Awards.

Over 50 entries were received across 6 categories. These spanned a diverse range of individuals, groups, and projects within the seafood sectors. The entrants all shared a passion for innovation and a commitment to the long-term health and sustainable use of our moana.

The judging panel found their task extremely difficult and rewarding this year, and commend all entrants for their efforts.

Find out about the judging panel

The finalists in each category are listed below with a brief description of their mahi. Award winners will be announced at a dinner later this year (2020).

To all the finalists, our warmest congratulations. To all the entrants – thank you. You're all contributing to a better future for New Zealand and our moana.


Operational Innovation Award

The CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc

The CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc has promoted a range of initiatives focused on fishery and environmental management. These include:

  • a more responsive method of management to determine catch limits
  • a method of management to maximise economic returns while maintaining high stock abundance
  • investments in research
  • promotion of protection for the sensitive and internationally important Fiordland Marine Area
  • coastal clean-up operations to reduce the human impact on the coastal environment by the removal of lost fishing gear and other waste.

When integrated, these have produced a fishery that is abundant and commercially profitable, while having a limited impact on the marine environment.

Precision Seafood Harvesting Ltd

Precision Seafood Harvesting Ltd is a high-profile fishing industry partnership between Moana NZ, Sealord, and Sanford that has created, tested, and validated innovative new harvesting system designs. These have recently been given regulatory approval for commercial use under the new Enabling Innovative Trawl Technology regulations. The patented designs use a unique membrane system that controls the water flow inside the trawl environment to minimise fatigue, mortality, and quality losses during harvesting.

The high-level objectives of the partnership were to:

  • improve economic returns through better fish quality
  • reduce mortality rates in unintended catch
  • create a culture of innovation within the trawl fishing industry.

Richard Wells – Resourcewise

Richard has contributed to protected species bycatch management in New Zealand by developing and implementing:

  • the Deepwater Protected Species Bycatch Liaison Programme
  • vessel management plans across the deepwater fleet
  • tools and methods to mitigate bycatch.

He has also undertaken research into bycatch, as well as New Zealand's native seabirds, sea lions, and other marine mammals. Richard shares his knowledge, builds capacity in people and systems, and develops relationships that enable collaboration and problem solving. His work has resulted in increased use of methods to mitigate bycatch, and the development of a culture built on pride, responsibility, and accountability in the deepwater fleet. His work has helped to protect marine mammals and bird-life.

The Lee-Fish Limited Award for Market Innovation and Value Added

Awatoru Enterprises Ltd

Awatoru Enterprises Ltd (Three Rivers) is an artisan fishing and wild food supply company based in the Kapiti Coast. They are a small, family business that supply high quality, locally caught, seasonally harvested seafood and wild produce to New Zealand's hospitality and restaurant trade. Businesses they supply to include Logan Brown, Ortega Fish Shack & Bar, Charley Nobel, and Hiakai. The products they supply include locally harvested albacore tuna, flounder, seaweed, kahawai, scallops, and paddle crab. Complementing this fresh seafood, they also produce and source wild venison, wild lamb, and honey.

Better Fishing

Better Fishing is a small fishing business in the Hawke's Bay that has moved from the traditional high volume, small return style of fishing to a low volume, high return model. Karl and Sarah Warr, the owners of Better Fishing, utilise a self-designed trawl codend that uses interchangeable panels to target specific species and reduce bycatch. They have built a business around supplying high-value fish that is caught in a sustainable manner to restaurants and the public. Utilising social media and working with restaurants has proved to be a self-sustaining relationship that is beneficial to all involved. Catching fewer fish and selling them fresh has meant a happy public and happy customers.

Gravity Fishing

Gravity Fishing is small fishing business in Southland that harvests fish to order using hook and line electric jigging machines. They promote zero waste by supplying whole fish so chefs can use every part. Gravity Fishing has done extensive research to perfect their harvesting method, adopted a humane Japanese method for killing fish, and developed a 12-month calendar that targets fish seasonally. The company aims to listen to what the fishery is telling them, and make changes for the greater good of the fishery.

The New Zealand King Salmon Co Ltd

New Zealand King Salmon is one of the world's largest king salmon producers. With 30 years of experience in farming, processing, and branding, they are respected for their clean, healthy, and humane practices as well as superior-quality salmon. Through hard work and innovation, they have developed into one of New Zealand's leading aquaculture companies by:

  • differentiating their products
  • creating ultra-premium brands
  • developing a community of ambassador chefs
  • creating innovative marketing support systems
  • utilising all product streams.

Their wide range of salmon products are in the world's best restaurants, in supermarket chillers, on pet food shelves, and in bait freezers. They continually look to develop product variations to meet market demand.

Kaitiakitanga Award

CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc

The CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc has promoted a range of initiatives focused on fishery and environmental management. These include:

  • a more responsive method of management to determine catch limits
  • a method of management to maximise economic returns while maintaining high stock abundance
  • investments in research
  • promotion of protection for the highly sensitive and internationally important Fiordland Marine Area
  • coastal clean-up operations to reduce the human impact on the coastal environment by the removal of lost fishing gear and other waste.

When integrated, these have produced a fishery that is high in abundance and commercially profitable, while having a very limited impact on the marine environment.

Aaron McCloy – Papa Taiao Earthcare

Aaron McCloy is a lead teacher for the moana restoration course. As the lead kaiako he has worked with students from 4 schools to enable them to become leaders in the development of innovative solutions to some of Aotearoa's largest issues. He has helped students to understand sustainability in a range of contexts. Student have achieved industry-based unit standards and obtained skill-sets and qualifications in marine restoration that encourage further career development. The course he leads gives students hands-on experience on oyster farm sites and rahui sites, so they can get a better understanding of sustainable practices and encourage new practices to succeed in being kaitiaki.

Richard Wells – Resourcewise

Richard has contributed to protected species bycatch management in New Zealand by developing and implementing:

  • the Deepwater Protected Species Bycatch Liaison Programme
  • vessel management plans across the deepwater fleet
  • tools and methods to mitigate bycatch.

He has also undertaken research into bycatch, as well as into New Zealand's native seabirds, sea lions, and other marine mammals. Richard shares his knowledge, builds capacity in people and systems, and develops relationships that enable collaboration and problem solving. His work has resulted in increased use of methods to mitigate bycatch, and the development of a culture built on pride, responsibility, and accountability in the deepwater fleet. His work has helped to protect marine mammals and bird-life.

Scott and Sue Tindale

Scott and Sue Tindale are an inseparable team that have spent a lifetime working together, encouraging the public to take notice of their impact on the environment. Leading by example, they have developed methods to reduce fish and seabird mortality and raised public awareness of the harmful effects discarded fishing lines have on wildlife. In 2019 they developed the Tindale Marine Research Charitable Trust to collate their years of volunteer work and establish a citizen science inshore fish tagging program.

Emerging Leader Award

Josh Wyber – High Country Salmon

Josh Wyber is the farm and asset manager at High Country Salmon. He rose to his leadership position suddenly and unexpectedly following the passing of general manager Peter Logan. During a tragic time, he stepped up and now oversees the company's on-water activities, and has implemented a number of sustainability initiatives. He wants to dedicate his nomination to the New Zealand farming industry for helping High Country Salmon, the Logan family, and himself through a difficult period. The support Josh received has cemented his desire to remain in New Zealand's salmon aquaculture industry.

Maegen Blom – Mills Bay Mussels

Maegan Blom is a student who has been the creative lead behind the rebrand of her family mussel business, Mills Bay Mussels. Her mission is to show kiwis that mussels are New Zealand's supreme seafood product, and has focussed her family's business on targeting the domestic market instead of exports. She continues to motivate domestic consumer preference for mussels by introducing new product offerings, using promotional marketing including "the best way to eat mussels", and creating a website to increase market reach.

Nate Smith – Gravity Fishing

Nate Smith is a Southland commercial fisher who opened his own commercial fishing operation, Gravity Fishing. This has allowed him to pursue his mission for sustainably caught seafood, and bring back the connection between fisher and customer. His operation is fished to order, only sells whole fish, and uses electric hook and line jigging. His company prides themselves on 100% traceability and transparency, and he plans to start new markets where consumers know where their seafood comes from since they are buying directly from the fisher.


The finalists of the Supreme Sustainability Award and Minister of Fisheries Award are confidential. The winners will be announced at the awards dinner in Wellington later in 2020.

For further information:


About the awards

The awards celebrate industry, tangata whenua, and our communities who are dedicated to ensuring the sustainability of New Zealand's fisheries and aquaculture. The theme is "Ngā kaitiaki o Tangaroa".

It's a chance to recognise individuals and groups that have been involved in innovation, science, leadership, or community engagement that promotes the present and future sustainability of New Zealand's seafood sector.

Award categories

Judging panel

Terms and conditions


The award categories

Judging panel

Nominations were assessed by the New Zealand Seafood Sustainability Awards 2020 judging panel. This panel comprised 5 respected professionals who:

  • are independent of central government
  • have expertise in a relevant area
  • have a range of experience to cover the expected variety of entries (such as technical, conservation, production, market access, or support services).

The New Zealand Seafood Sustainability Awards 2020 judging panel members included:

  • Judging panel chair - Livia Esterhazy, chief executive officer of World Wildlife Fund New Zealand
  • Grant Dixon, director of New Zealand Fishing Media Ltd
  • Gillian Wratt, director of Gilando Ltd
  • Laws Lawson, Te Ohu Kaimoana's tai kaupapa/principal analyst
  • Dr Jeremy Helson, chief executive officer of Fisheries Inshore New Zealand

What else you need to know

  • Information contained in an award winner’s nomination may be used by the Ministry for Primary Industries for promotional purposes.
  • The judging panel reserves the right not to issue an award if, in its opinion, nominations do not adequately meet the criteria.
  • Fisheries New Zealand will liaise with awards finalists regarding the details of their invitation to the awards dinner, and their participation in future initiatives to promote good practice in the seafood sector.
  • Any final decisions regarding the arrangements and details of prizes lie with Fisheries New Zealand.
  • Judging panel decisions are final and not subject to appeal.
  • Nominations are confidential.
  • Any personal information that is collected will be used and stored in accordance with the Ministry for Primary Industries’ privacy policy.

Who to contact

If you have any questions about the awards, email seafood.awards@mpi.govt.nz

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