New Zealand Seafood Sustainability Awards

Find out about the awards and the 2020 winners and finalists.

Awards show sustainable seafood is achievable

On 3 August 2020, Parliament hosted the first Seafood Sustainability Awards. This brought together people from customary, recreational, and commercial fishing as well as fisheries science. They celebrated sustainability and innovation in New Zealand’s seafood sector.

There were 6 award categories, with winners chosen by an independent judging panel. Recipients included scientists and innovative small fishing operators from Stewart Island to Northland.

“The high calibre of entrants made it a tricky task for our judging panel, but it certainly demonstrates that genuinely sustainable seafood is achievable and happening right here in New Zealand,” said Dan Bolger, deputy director-general of Fisheries New Zealand.

Award winners

Nine people standing in a line in front of a Fisheries New Zealand banner. Six of the people are Seafood Sustainability Award winners, and hold wooden awards.
2020 Seafood Sustainability Award winners (left to right): Paul McIntyre and Aine O’Neill (New Zealand King Salmon Company Ltd – winners of the Lee Fish Ltd Award for Market Innovation and Value-Added), Hon Stuart Nash (Minister of Fisheries), Richard Wells (Resourcewise – winner of the Kaitiakitanga and Supreme Sustainability Awards), Ray Smith (director-general, MPI), Dan Bolger (deputy director-general, Fisheries New Zealand), Dr Rosemary Hurst (NIWA – winner of the Minister of Fisheries Award), Malcolm Lawson (CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc – winner of the Operational Innovation Award), and Nate Smith (Gravity Fishing – winner of the Emerging Leader Award).

Operational Innovation Award

Winner: 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. This includes a more responsive method to determine catch limits, maximise economic returns, and maintain stock abundance.

Finalists: Richard Wells (Resourcewise), and Precision Seafood Harvesting.

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

Winner: New Zealand King Salmon Co Ltd

New Zealand King Salmon are the world’s largest king salmon producer, with 30 years’ experience in farming, processing, and branding.

Through hard work and innovation, they have developed into one of New Zealand’s leading aquaculture companies. They are respected for clean, healthy, and humane practices, as well as superior quality salmon. Their products are world-class, and their branding and marketing strategies are out of this world.

Finalists: Better Fishing, and Awatoru Enterprises Limited.

Emerging Leader Award

Winner: Nate Smith (Gravity Fishing)

As a commercial fisherman, Nate observed how fish stocks were declining in the waters around Stewart Island. In response to this, his crew changed their method of fishing to hook and line. A catch-to-order business model provides 100% traceability and transparency for their product.

Gravity Fishing has created a sustainable business providing high quality and sustainable fish from hook to plate.

Finalists: Josh Wyber (High Country Salmon), and Maegen Blom (Mills Bay Mussels).

Kaitiakitanga Award

Winner: Richard Wells (Resourcewise)

Richard is an environmental and industry leader with huge mana. His major contributions to protected species bycatch management in New Zealand include:

  • the development and implementation of the deepwater protected species bycatch liaison programme
  • vessel management plans across the deepwater fleet
  • bycatch mitigation and science for our native seabirds, sea lions, and other marine mammals.

Finalists: The CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc, and Aaron McCloy (Papa Taiao Earthcare).

Supreme Sustainability Award

Winner: Richard Wells (Resourcewise)

Richard has a consistent and longstanding commitment to sustainability in the seafood sector. He is willing to share his knowledge on bycatch, as well New Zealand's native seabirds, sea lions, and other marine mammals. He also takes a collaborative approach to problem solving. Together, this has helped to build capacity in people and systems.

Richard has promoted methods to mitigate bycatch, and a culture of pride, responsibility, and accountability in the deepwater fleet. His work has helped to protect marine mammals and bird-life. He was also a finalist for the Operational Innovation Award and winner of the Kaitiakitanga Award.

Minister of Fisheries Award

Winner: Rosemary Hurst (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research)

Rosemary is one of New Zealand’s leading fisheries research and science management experts. Her lifelong commitment has helped develop policies and procedures for deepwater fisheries, and the Quota Management System. She developed the inshore fishery trawl surveys, first estimates of stock yields, and standardised monitoring approaches used for hoki.

Finalists: The CRA8 Rock Lobster Industry Association Inc, and Scott and Sue Tindale.

Government media release about the awards

Inaugural seafood awards honour sustainability – Beehive

Who to contact

If you have any questions about the awards, email

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