The Award winners were announced by the Minister of Conservation Hon. Maggie Barry ONZM during an event at Parliament last night.
Presenting the awards Hon. Maggie Barry said they celebrate leadership in the fishing industry.
“They recognise the people who understand the importance of protecting our seabirds, and take practical action both to win over others to the cause and show them how to help.
We need leaders like those we honour tonight to build a culture of care within the industry, so that seabird protection is seen as normal practice rather than an unnecessary burden.
Each of them has made a significant contribution to the continued health of our seas, oceans, and indeed our nation as a whole”, she said.
"The winners of this year’s Seabird Smart awards are the sustainable future of New Zealand fishing", says Bill Mansfield, the Chair of the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust.
“New Zealand is known as the seabird capital of the world. As the breeding grounds for a third of the world’s seabirds species, we have an international responsibility to ensure their long-term survival,” says Bill Mansfield.
“Each of these four men is an environmental champion, and they are leading the way in reinforcing the importance of seabird smart fishing practices amongst the fishing industry. Their passion and actions have positively affected the attitudes and behaviour of others in their fleets. We want to recognise them and thank them for their vision and their work.
“Both the main winners Tom Searle of Leigh Fisheries and Mike Black of Talley’s have influenced the behaviour of a whole fishing fleet and through their leadership have made a significant contribution to seabird conservation.
Two special awards were given this year. “As a fisher, Wayne Dreadon from Whitianga has championed fishers working collaboratively with government and environmental groups, and Jamie Williamson, a fisheries observer, has given fishers a new appreciation of the seabirds they see every day around their vessels.”
The Seabird Smart Awards are supported and sponsored by Sealord Group, Deepwater Group, Ministry for Primary Industries, Fisheries Inshore New Zealand, Aotearoa Fisheries, Harbour Holdings Ltd and the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen. The Awards are run by the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust and held every second year.