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Bakkafrost Scotland has won the ‘Animal Welfare’ category and one of its most experienced managers has won ‘Fish Farmer of the Year’ at the 2024 Aquaculture Awards.

The awards were presented at the gala dinner where over 500 people attended in Aviemore on Wednesday this week (15 May). The event celebrated projects, cutting-edge technological advancements, businesses, and individuals making an exceptional contribution to the aquaculture community.

Ian Laister, managing director, Bakkafrost Scotland commented on the award wins: “It is tremendous to have won two awards at the Aquaculture Awards this year.

“The ‘Fish Farmer of the Year’ award recognises the hard work, dedication and commitment Thomas has shown both to our business and the strong ethics he has a marine site manager.

“The welfare initiative has once again been well attended and we are seeing real signs of positive impact across the business, as a result.”

‘Fish Farmer of the Year’, was presented to marine site manager, Thomas Begg. The award celebrates his dedication and commitment.

Thomas is involved in all aspects of site management and strives to help embed change, improve processes, and encourage others to look at aquaculture as a way of life, not ‘just a job’.

His experience has helped address challenges, find sustainable solutions, and applying the learnings has helped other colleagues.

Thomas Begg, added: “Having been nominated for this award felt like a victory in itself. It is amazing to have been recognised for making a positive impact within my team and the industry. It means a lot to me especially after 38 years of dedication and hard work.

“I am grateful to my colleagues, whose tremendous support and shared dedication has made this possible.

“Thank you to everyone who has been part of this journey.”

The ‘Animal Welfare’ award recognises the high standards Bakkafrost Scotland is achieving and the ongoing commitment to training and welfare.

Head of health, Kimberley McKinnell, ran an initiative to support educating teams and raise awareness about fish health, biological challenges, ways of monitoring and the importance of identifying trends.

The training sessions and workshops cover gill health, plankton monitoring, jellyfish monitoring and general welfare.

Those who attended the events had the opportunity to use stereo microscopes all on site and to monitor jellyfish through a central hub.

Kimberley McKinnell, head of health at Bakkafrost Scotland said of the award: “We are thrilled and honoured to receive the Animal Welfare award. This comes at a time when we are seeing the hard work of our teams start to bear fruit, with tangible improvements in survivability, lice control and gill health.

“Thank you to all of the production teams for their engagement with the welfare programmes and to the biology team for their constant support.

Calum Scott, Senior Marine Feed Technician at Bakkafrost Scotland was shortlisted for the 'Rising Star' award, where he was recognised for his outstanding talent in advancing AI feed technology within the industry.