Seafood industry leader Doug Saunders-Loder of Motueka has been recognised as a “Seafood Star” by Seafood New Zealand.

He was presented with the award that recognises his long-standing service to the industry at the inaugural Seafood Stars Awards in Wellington tonight.

Aquaculture industry pioneer and leader Rob Pooley of Marlborough was also honoured.

Doug Saunders-Loder (download photo) has been president of the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen for the past 13 years.

He entered the industry as an 18-year-old fishing for rock lobster off the Wairarapa Coast, moving to Motueka for a change of career in horticulture, returning to fishing 18 months later to work for Talley’s in 1986.

A staunch advocate for inshore fishermen he represents their interests in a wide variety of settings and manages key stakeholder relationships with Maritime NZ, the Ministry for Primary Industries, fisheries science working groups, and community stakeholder organisations including the Southern Seabird Solutions Trust.

In addition to his role as president of the Federation he also holds the following positions:

•    Chairman of the Challenger Oyster Management Company

•    Chairman of the NZ Tuna Management Association

•    Director Area2 Inshore Finfish Management Company Ltd

•    Chairman of Challenger Scallop Enhancement Company Ltd

•    Chairman of Southern Inshore Fisheries Management Company Ltd

•    Director of Fisheries Inshore New Zealand Ltd

“This award recognises the enormous contribution and leadership Doug has made to the industry over many years, the challenges he has taken on and the enormous mana he holds within our industry and its stakeholders,” Seafood New Zealand Chief Executive Tim Pankhurst said.

The Seafood Star Awards are part of the industry’s celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary of the fisheries Quota Management System with awards for excellence and innovation within the industry.

“Every day in fishing communities around the country thousands of people go to work to contribute to our $1.8 billion export industry whether it’s putting to sea in our inshore fisheries, working away from home in our deepwater fisheries, working on salmon and mussel farms, or onshore processing and marketing our products,” Tim Pankhurst said.

“The awards reward innovation and excellence within our industry and recognise the contribution our diverse workforce makes to this important industry and their commitment to its ongoing sustainability.

“There are thousands of stars in our industry. Tonight we are recognising five of them.”

In addition to the Longstanding Service Award, the following awards were also made:

Seafood Innovations - Sustainability Award Winner

•    Dave Kellian (Warkworth)

Young Achiever Award Winners

•    Adam Clow (Whitianga)

•    Te Tane Trinick (Queenstown)