Excellence and dedication awarded at National Seafood Industry Awards

Top players in the seafood industry gathered at International Convention Centre for the National Seafood Industry Awards at a Gala Dinner on 28th September 2017. The awards pay homage to excellence in a wide range of categories, celebrating innovation, environmental sustainability and long-term service, as well as excellence in people development and promotions.

In attendance was Senator the Hon. Anne Ruston, Assistant Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, who assisted with the presentation of the awards.

The Industry Ambassador Award is the evening’s most prestigious award, presented to Tasmanian aquaculture farmers Peter and Una Rockliff for their decades of service and making a significant contribution to the development of Australia’s seafood industry. Their lifetime of work, as a husband and wife team since 1949, has greatly contributed to Tasmania being recognised as a sustainable, innovative and best practice seafood producer.

The award for Excellence in Environmental Practice has become increasingly important for businesses, as seafood lovers are more than ever before interested in sustainable seafood practices and scrutinise the origin of the fish and seafood they buy. This year, Austral Fisheries took out the title in recognition for being the first carbon neutral seafood business in the world.

Austral fisheries operates vessels in Australia’s sub-antarctic fisheries catching Patagonian Toothfish and prawn. All of Austral’s wild-caught seafood is certified sustainable and well managed by the Marine Stewardship Council.

The hotly contested Best Fish and Chips award underwent a rigorous process to determine the top shop this year. The People’s Choice Awards called upon the public to rally behind their favourite seafood eateries and cast their vote for the nation’s Best Fish and Chips.

Minister Ruston was delighted the search for Australia’s best fish and chips shop had sparked widespread interest.

“The response right across the country has been fantastic, and I want to thank everyone who’s lodged a vote,” Minister Ruston said.

“Australians love their fish and chips, and many of us are very loyal to our favourite fish and chips shop.

“Another great thing about this contest is that it highlights the need to ensure our fisheries are managed sustainably so that future generations of Australians can enjoy a feed of fish and chips from their favourite shop or restaurant, just like we can.”

The People’s choice award took seven months, and over 95,000 votes to whittle down the state winners and national finalists to find the best and most loved fish and chip shop in Australia. Finally the People’s Choice award went to Tasmanian Gourmet Seafoods. The Northern Territory’s Frying Nemo was awarded Best Fish and Chips by the formally judged category.

Safety is a key issue in the industry and recognising the issue in the awards can foster support for safety within the sector. Sydney Fish Market was awarded the Safety Award, for its commitment to ensuring the safety of its customers and workers, having maintained third party safety certification for fourteen consecutive years.

The Young Achiever Award went to Asher Flynn who is Operations Manager of Fremantle Octopus. Asher started his career at the tender age of 14 and has since proved himself a game changer in the industry. He volunteers his time to visit schools educating children about the seafood industry and has executed a successful product development launch for international markets.

Awards for Businesses in the large and small categories went to Humpty Doo Barramundi and Bass Strait Direct respectively. Ocean Grown Abalone won in the Primary Producer category. Spring Bay Seafoods took away the word in the Research, Development and Extension category. Commercial Fishing Operations Skills for Northern Territory Indigenous Communities won in the People Development category.

On the night, nearly 400 guests were treated to a decadent seafood-based menu, in the Grand Ballroom held at the International Convention Centre.

The awards happen in conjunction with Seafood Directions 2017 conference, attended by close to 350 delegates, held at the International Convention Centre from 27th to 29th September.  Seafood Directions is the national seafood industry conference held every two years, travelling from state to state and hosted this year by the New South Wales Seafood Industry Council (NSWSIC).

With the theme ‘Sea the Future’, Seafood Directions 2017 aims to provide a platform for delegates to connect and collaborate with business leaders and those at the forefront of the seafood industry to discuss the current and potential challenges that the industry is facing; and develop the ideas that will pave the way for a sustainable future for all.

Winners of the 2017 National Seafood Industry Awards are:




Young Achiever Award

Asher Flynn

Primary Producer Award

Ocean Grown Abalone

Business (Large) Award

Humpty Doo Barramundi

Business (Small) Award

Bass Strait Direct

Research Development and Extension Award

Spring Bay Seafoods

Environment Award

Austral Fisheries

People Development Award

Commercial Fishing Operations Skills for Northern Territory Indigenous Communities

Promotion Award

Mandurah Licenced Fishermen’s Association

Safety Award

Sydney Fish Market

Restaurant Award

Freycinet Marine Farm

Fish and Chips Award

Frying Nemo

Industry Ambassador Award

Peter and Una Rockliff

Inductees to the Hall of Fame

Annie Jarrett

Grahame Turk

Bill Passey

Barry Evans

Simon Clark

Sime Sarin

Peter Fare

Peter and Una  Rockliff

Leonie Noble

Michael Kailis

Jayne Gallagher



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