• Home
  • News
  • New award launched to recognise salmon farming’s rising stars
March 14th 2024

A new award has been launched to recognise the achievements of young people working in salmon and seafood farming.

The Young Aquaculture Society (YAS)’s Early Career Innovators Competition is part of a broader drive to boost job opportunities in this thriving sector.

The winner will be announced at Aquaculture UK, the country’s largest conference of its kind, in Aviemore, Inverness-shire, in May.
Entries are now open for the competition, which is supported by Diversified Communications, the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture (IoA) and trade body Salmon Scotland.

This initiative comes less than six months after YAS was founded by Salmon Scotland’s technical and standards manager Andrew Richardson. YAS aims to support future leaders in seafood, shellfish, and finfish through socialising, networking, and professional growth.

The winner will be featured at a special in-person event for sector professionals at Aquaculture UK, hosted by Salmon Scotland on May 14th. They will enjoy a complimentary stay on the night, and the organisers will cover up to £200 for their travel to and from the event. Prizes are also available for the second and third-place runners-up.

The competition is open to members of YAS. Joining is free and takes just two minutes to complete an application. More details on the competition and an entry pack can be found here.

Participants are asked to identify a challenge or problem and pitch their solution, which must be related to aquaculture — whether on a farm, at a hatchery, in a lab, or addressing a digital challenge.
Farm-raised salmon directly employs 2,500 people in Scotland, and an additional 10,000 jobs are dependent on the sector.

Offering well-paid and highly skilled job opportunities, the sector includes roles ranging from technicians and farm assistants to skippers, processors, and from fish husbandry to various business support roles.

Andrew Richardson, founder and president of YAS, said:“Early career professionals entering the field inherently bring fresh perspectives, making them well-positioned to generate impactful ideas.
“It's truly exciting for us to introduce such a prize at this early stage of our organisation's journey, and we are grateful to the Institute of Aquaculture and Aquaculture UK for sharing our mission.
“We can't wait to see some great submissions from members and get inspired.”

Tavish Scott, chief executive of Salmon Scotland, said:
“The farm-raised Scottish salmon sector is responsible for creating thousands of high-paid, skilled, and rewarding jobs across the country.
“With over 700 remarkable young people working directly on our farms, it's great to see a grassroots organisation supporting these rising stars by encouraging networking, socialising, and learning.
“I look forward to hearing about their ideas for propelling our already hugely successful sector forward.”

James Dick, technical Manager at the University of Stirling’s Institute of Aquaculture, said:
“Developing a healthy and diverse network is something that will undoubtedly support professional development.
“We encourage each of our IoA students to actively practice this skill, whether their ambitions are academic or working in the sector – and Aquaculture UK is the perfect place for this.”

Cheri Arvonio, Aquaculture UK’s event director, said:
“Conferences are places to inspire and forge new relationships.
“We want to see Aquaculture UK become an event prioritised by young professionals, as much as it is prioritised by industry vets.”