The Fishmongers’ Company’s Fisheries Charitable Trust once again sponsored the Sustainability Award at the national Fishing News Awards 2022. The Award rewards innovation in improving sustainability and environmental responsibility within the fishing industry.
The Sustainability Award saw an extremely competitive line-up of initiatives, all of whom are working hard to improve the marine environment and promote healthier fish and shellfish stocks. The prize was given to Ghost Fishing UK, which trains and recruits UK-based SCUBA divers to collect abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear. The shortlisted nominations included the Scottish Entanglement Alliance, who train fishers to untangle nets from moving marine mammals, the North-Eastern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority for their scallop fishery management work, and the Clean Catch UK project, which promotes the uptake and trialling of selective fishing gear. Given the challenges faced over the past few years, the panel of industry experts were impressed with the level of impact achieved from all nominations.
For the first time in the history of the Awards, two female fishers were recognised for the talent and commitment to the industry. Ashley Mullenger, a whelk fisher from Norfolk and trustee of Fishing into the Future, won the highly contested, Under-10m Fisherman of the Year, whilst the Trainee Fisherman of the Year went to 17-year old, Isla Gale from the Isle of Man.
Isla told the BBC: “I’ve always said I wanted to be the first female skipper, but I’ve also always said I wanted to be a good skipper, which is what I stand by.”
Finalists in the Trainee Fisherman and Young Fisherman categories met up ahead of the awards evening, supported by FCFCT’s charitable partner, Fishing into the Future (FITF), and Sunderland Marine. FITF’s Executive Director, Emma Plotnek said, “We were delighted to spend time with the nominees, discussing how FITF can help them, and also simply enabling a dialogue between the finalists. We started what we thought would be a short presentation and discussion. Two hours later, we were still there!”