A fisherman from the Poole Harbour clam and cockle fishery has been honoured at the Marine Stewardship Council’s annual awards in the first year a Fisherman of the Year category has been introduced.

Poole Harbour clam and cockle and Cornish hake fisheries scoop sustainable seafood awards

  • Fisherman of the Year category introduced for first time 
  • Cornish hake win award made from the fisheries own recycled fishing nets 

A fisherman from the Poole Harbour clam and cockle fishery has been honoured at the Marine Stewardship Council’s annual awards in the first year a Fisherman of the Year category has been introduced.   

Tom Russell, a clam and cockle fisherman himself, is also chairman of the Poole Harbour and District Fishermen’s Association and a Poole Harbour Commissioner. Tom won the inaugural award for his leadership in working with the Southern Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority and grant funders to set up the MSC clam and cockle fishery. 

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In a second award in fisheries, the Cornish Hake fishery won the Ocean Hero award for its commitment to sustainability for its work to address impacts on the marine environment and for working with scientists to investigate interactions with bycatch.   

In a nice twist, the winners’ award was designed and manufactured using 3D printing by Cornish-based J Supplied 3D and designed by artist Charlotte Dawe. It was made in collaboration with Fishy Filaments, who recycle fishing nets from the Cornish hake fishery into engineering grade nylon filament. This means that the fishery won an award made from nets from its own fishery. Fishy Filaments’ innovative harbour-side recycling technology was invented in Cornwall and saves about 98% of carbon emissions when compared to using equivalent virgin material.  

The annual awards, now in their 8th year, were streamed for a second-year running from the National Marine Aquarium, Plymouth, on October 7, 2021. 

MSC Virtual Awards Ceremony; Photos Trevor Burrows

Katie Keay, Senior Fisheries Outreach Manager, said: “I want to offer huge congratulations to our two award-winning MSC certified fisheries. It is thanks to Tom Russell’s leadership and collaboration with Southern IFCA that Poole Harbour now has a demonstrably sustainable fishery. This ensures a good living for 40 licence holders with a good market for their catch and it makes him a worthy winner for our first ever Fisherman of the Year award.  

“The Cornish Fish Producers Organisation closed five conditions during its first certificate to show it meets best practice for harvest control rules, discards, endangered, threatened, and protected species, and ecosystem impacts. It is also working with Cefas and other scientists to investigate and mitigate impacts on bycatch species. It has certainly proved to be an Ocean Hero!”  

Receiving his award, Tom Russell, said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this MSC Fisherman of the Year award. I’ve always believed that fishing should be a sustainable occupation with a great regard for the future. We must ensure we have got healthy stocks and we must minimise our effects on the environment.   

“It sounds a bit of a cliché but by looking after our stocks and seas and we will be leaving a fantastic legacy for the people who come behind us and the future generations.  

It’s a great honour to receive this first Fisherman of the Year award.”  

Andrew Pascoe, from the Cornish Fish Producers Organisation, said: “It’s great to get the recognition for all the hard work that the fleet, skippers and crew and the UK MSC team have put in over the years in order to achieve this.   

“As a gillnet fishery, heading out to the Celtic Sea we are exposed to all manner of sea and weather conditions throughout the seasons in order to fish for this sustainable species which provides a great food source for our nation.  

“With the industry working through such a turbulent 18 months dealing with covid and Brexit, all of which has caused a lot of uncertainty, it’s great to get this MSC Ocean Hero award for this fishery and the wider fishing community. The award refletct a lot of hard work that has gone on over the years and shows what is possible when we work together as a collective.”  

MSC UK ambassador, acclaimed restaurateur, chef and author, Mitch Tonks, was on the expert judging panel along with CJ Jackson, chief executive of Billingsgate Seafood School, Marcus Coleman chief executive of Seafish and Dr Eleanor Adamson, Fisheries Programme Manager at the Fishmongers’ Company. 

Source: Press Release 

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Poole Harbour clam and cockle and Cornish hake fisheries scoop awards   

by editor time to read: 7 min