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The Sunderland Marine Young Fisher of the Year Award was founded in 2024 as a collaboration between Young Fish Aotearoa NZ, founding sponsor Sunderland Marine and the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen. 

The award was created to celebrate the achievements and hard work of New Zealand’s young fishers and to help nurture their careers by providing opportunities to further their maritime training.  

According to Seafood New Zealand, as of 2024 the country's seafood industry directly employs about 12,500 people and indirectly employs another 4,000 across the country. With workplace shortages persistent throughout the industry, there is a pressing need to recruit and retain youth for roles in everything from crewing inshore and deepwater vessels to processing the fish, developing sustainable fisheries policy and everything in between.  

Young Fish NZ co-founder Ben Pierce wanted to specifically recognise the mahi of the industry’s young fishers – those putting in the hard yards out on the water, day in and day out.  

Thanks to Sunderland Marine, winners receive a $5,000 scholarship to further their maritime training and are presented with the award's custom trophy for the year.  

The Young Fisher of the Year Award trophy was made by Tasman-based artist Steven of Werble Hill Crafts, who created the tāmure (snapper) sculpture from marine-grade stainless steel and mounted it on a piece of Nelson Tasman macrocarpa wood. An artistic play on the custom of mounting a prize fish, it embodies the passion and dedication of the industry’s youth. Catching fish requires both patience and perseverance – qualities that are found in many of the young fishers working in New Zealand.  

List of past winners: 

2024 – Logan Murman


About the founding organisations: 

New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen  

Founded in 1953, the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen is a national organisation that represents and advocates for independent, private owner-operator fishers and their crew – typically operating small vessels of 10–30 metres. The Federation has around 375 members, who make up approximately 30% of all inshore owner-operators and crew operating in coastal New Zealand waters. 

Sunderland Marine  

Founded in 1882 in Sunderland, North-East England, Sunderland Marine brings a wealth of experience and technical knowledge to clients around the world. Providing market-leading marine insurance products to the maritime industry including fishing and aquaculture, the New Zealand office is centrally located in Port Nelson.  

Young Fish NZ  

Started in 2022 by passionate aquaculture minds Ben Pierce, Josh Wyber and Maegen Blom, Young Fish NZ is a networking group for under-35s involved in all parts of the seafood industry – from fishing and marine farming to seafood processing, marketing and science. Young Fish’s mission is to connect young people in Aotearoa New Zealand’s seafood communities and foster their growth and career progression in the industry.