A host of north-east individuals and businesses have been announced as finalists for this year’s Fishing News awards.
Voting is now open in 14 categories, with the winners being announced at a gala awards dinner in Aberdeen on May 16.
Peterhead Port will be hoping to hold on to its title of top port after its success in the awards last year.
And as with last year it is up against some stiff competition in the form of neighbouring port Fraserburgh, Brixha, Newlyn and Mevagissey.
2018 was a landmark year for the Blue Toon port with completion of its £51m inner harbour deepening and new fishmarket project resulting in significantly increased landings.
Meanwhile, following deepening of its North Harbour basin, Fraserburgh Harbour Commissioners welcomed a number of new fishing vessels into the fleet in 2018.
With further investment in the fleet set to continue in 2019 and beyond, this demonstrates the commitment and confidence local fishermen have in their industry.
Three locals and in the running for Demersal Fisherman of the Year.
David Milne (Faithlie FR 220) has shown that he is a top whitefish skipper, with extensive knowledge of the fishing grounds both off the west coast of Scotland and in the North Sea.
Colin Stephen (Harvest Hope PD 120), started work with his father, and has been fishing for 30 years. Together with his brother James, he owns and runs Harvest Hope - one of the largest whitefish boats in the country - from Peterhead.
James West (Westro PD20), took over from his father James as skipper of the family boat Fruitful Bough at the age of 19, before going on to skipper the new Fruitful Bough in 2004. The Westro was commissioned for James towards the end of last year.
Another well-known figure in the Banff and Buchan ports is Stephen Bruce, who is a finalist in the Independent Fresh Fish Retailer of the Year category.
Stephen set up the Peterhead Fish Company in January 2016 and delivers same-day supplies of the freshest possible fish direct from Peterhead Fishmarket to customers’ doors.
Every day, the Peterhead Fish Company uses its social media accounts to identify the boats that have provided the day’s catch, which has proved to be very popular.
Peterhead firms Box Pool Solutions and Jackson Trawls will go up against rivals from Brixham and Buckie for the title of Service Company of the Year.
Box Pool Solutions started trading in 2006 to offset a monopoly situation developing in the supply of fishboxes to the industry.
The company was then able to keep the price of boxes at the most competitive rate possible, and there has been no price increase for 12 years.
Jackson Trawls has given a brilliant service, manufacturing top-quality nets for the fishing industry for more than 40 years.
The company is constantly working on new projects to try to make nets that are more sustainable.
A host of vessels will vie for the New Boat of the Year (Demersal) category, including Fraserburgh boats Uberous (FR 50), and Achieve (FR 100).
In the Pelagic category, the Ocean Star (FR 77) has been nominated, while the Debbie V (FH 555), will compete in the Shellfish category.
Peterhead man Gavin Burnett of the Ocean Endeavour (PD 625), has been named as a finalist in the Trainee Fisherman of the Year category.
After initial training at the Scottish Marine Academy, Gavin was taken on by John Buchan, skipper of the Ocean Endeavour, at the end of last year.
John said: “Gavin is the best trainee I ever had. He is learning quickly and is full of excitement about the job. He’s a great worker!”
Competition for the title of Young Fisherman of the Year is William McKenzie of the Lapwing (PD 972).
William started the sea at the age of 16 as a young lad who couldn’t mend or splice, but with sheer determination he got stuck in and learned all the skills.
He went up and sat his Class 2 ticket and is now mate/relief skipper of the Peterhead pair seiner.
There he has learned how to skipper a boat, manoeuvre a vessel when fishing, lead a crew and make decisions on his own.
Winners of the awards for Young Fisherman of the Year, Port of the Year and Lifetime Achievement Award and The Sustainability Award will be determined by a panel of judges drawn from the fishing industry, using all supporting evidence provided through the nomination process.
Voting for the remaining categories will end on midnight on Thursday, April 18 and you can vote on the Fishing News web page at https://fishingnews.co.uk/awards/shortlists-and-voting
The Doubletree Aberdeen Treetops Hotel will once again be the venue for the awards night and this year’s proceedings will be hosted by Scottish comedian Des Clarke, who will MC the awards and provide after-dinner entertainment.