NAIA holds annual awards ceremony
April 19, 2023 | By Matt Jones
The Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association held their annual Newfoundland and Labrador Aquaculture Hall of Achievement Awards in February. The awards are said to “highlight the accomplishments of the best and brightest people, innovators and advances in the province’s quarter-billion-dollar finfish and shellfish aquaculture sector.”
This year’s winners included:
- Aquaculturist of the Year – Gary Wilton of Cooke Aquaculture
- Excellence in Innovation – Cold Ocean Salmon
- Stewardship and Sustainability – Rebecca White, Badger Bay Mussel Farms
- Distinguished Early Career/Youth – Julia Norris and Tyler Penton, Grieg Seafood NL
- Aquaculture Ambassador – Cyr Couturier, Marine Institute of Memorial University.
In addition to those awards, Chris Williams of Mowi Canada East was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Williams served as an operations manager with the company prior to his retirement last year.
“It’s quite humbling to receive it,” says Williams. “I’m somewhat shocked, but I’m greatly appreciative of it.”
Williams says the industry was somewhat primitive when he first entered the industry 19 years ago compared to today – most feeding was done by hand with 25 kilogram bags. He cites producing up to 15,000 metric tons of fish with somewhat limited gear as an accomplishment he is particularly proud of.
“That obviously graduated to automatic feeders, which made life a lot easier for the people and got a better feed conversion ratio on our fish,” says Williams. “It was quite a bit more labour intensive than it is today, so to be able to produce that kind of tonnage with limited resources was probably my biggest accomplishment. We worked hard at it and put a lot of effort into it.”
A post by Mowi states that Williams was critical to the company’s understanding of environmental conditions, logistical challenges and community dynamics in the region.
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