The New Zealand seafood industry today recognised the men, women and organisations who are making a significant contribution in four categories.

The third annual Seafood Stars Awards were presented at the Seafood Industry conference at Te Papa.

Seafood New Zealand chief executive, Tim Pankhurst, said the quality of nominations was superb this year.

The Our People award went to two recipients; Justin Hough of New Zealand King Salmon for leading work in the Outer Pelorus Sounds, where sites are exposed to high seas and high tidal flow and to Moana New Zealand.

“Justin received this award for his efforts in ensuring staff safety and leading significant changes in farming processes.”

Moana was recognised for tackling mental health issues.

“Their initiative in engaging Mike King to speak to their staff throughout New Zealand about stress, depression and mental illness was ground-breaking and shows real leadership in staff welfare,” said Pankhurst.

The Future Development Innovation Award went to those involved in the revolutionary use of hoki skins to develop actiVLayr, a cosmetic skin product that has drawn international acclaim. The award went to Kathleen Hofman of Plant and Food Research, Andrew Stanley of Sanford, and Iain Hosie of Revolution Fibres.

Pankhurst said he was particularly pleased to see 24 year old Elle Kibblewhite receive the Young Achiever Award.

“Elle is a credit to her parents, Richard and Jean, who are also significant contributors to the industry. Elle is First Mate on a crayfishing vessel, a qualified skipper and electrician and already demonstrates impressive leadership skills. I am sure they are very proud.”

The Longstanding Service Award had four recipients this year. Dave Sharp who holds directorships on many seafood boards and has been in the industry since 1969, Vince Sydall of Moana New Zealand’s oyster operations, Donna Wells of FinestKind, and Greg Bishop of Leigh Fisheries.

“All four of these people have made an outstanding contribution to the industry over many decades. Their expertise in their chosen fields has been invaluable in the growth of the New Zealand seafood industry and we all thank them for their service,” said Pankhurst.