Last night, BLUE celebrated its inaugural Ocean Awards, in collaboration with its partner, Boat International.
The awards acknowledge and celebrate those remarkable individuals and organisations, both winners and runners up who are confronting the problems facing our oceans.
BLUE would like to thank Boat International for organising such a wonderful event and Claire Wallerstein, who, along with a group of artists from Cornwall individually designed and created the awards using only ocean debris.
Congratulations to all our winners:
Award category: Visionary
Winner: Rt Hon Oliver Letwin
The Visionary Award is for the politician or thinker who has achieved most for ocean conservation in the past year.
Oliver won the award for implementing the Conservative manifesto. He is at the centre of power in UK and we happen to know that he was instrumental in agreeing the government’s commitment to creating large marine reserves at both Ascension and Pitcairn and “blue belts” around the other 12 overseas territories. For this he is a clear winner and visionary.
Award category: Policy
Winner: John Podesta
The award for Policy recognises a political or corporate policy that has made the most valuable contribution to solving the oceans crisis.
John won this award for his part in leading the US National Ocean policy. This included the decision to expand the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument to form one of the world’s largest marine protected areas, ensuring it is off limits to both commercial fishing AND deep sea mining.
Award Winner: Greenpeace UK Oceans team
The judges decided that there was a gap in our nominations for the campaigning group which most affected public consciousness of ocean affairs thus created the ‘Judges’ Award’ category.
The Greenpeace UK Oceans team won the award its work on holding supermarkets to account over tuna, on the Great Barrier Reef, on the vaquita porpoise, on fisheries reform and working with small scale fishermen, among other things.
Award category: Personality of the Year
Winner: Pharrell Williams
The Personality Award is for the person in the public eye who has done most to promote awareness of oceans crisis.
He won not for his role as creative director of Bionic Yark which used fibres recycled from plastics washed up on the shoreline.
Winner: Scottish White Fish Producers Association
The award for Projects, is for the Ocean project that has achieved the most in the past year.
The Scottish White Fish Producers Association won the award for its work to save the North Sea cod, for good business reasons. Fishermen took a lead in conservation using seasonal closures, innovative meshes and other measures far in advance of EU regulation. They were rewarded last year by a rebound in stocks in recognition of which the Marine Conservation Society took North Sea cod off its list of “fish to avoid”.
Winner: Satellite Applications Catapult
The Technology Award recognises new technology that has made the biggest contribution to ocean conservation in the past year.
The winner is Satellite Applications Catapult which has brought space technology to bear on the problem of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, one of the planet’s biggest problems. Its project Eyes on the Seas is helping to drive down the cost of enforcement in places such as Ascension and Pitcairn and in the end may make patrol boats unnecessary.
Winner: Marks and Spencer
The UK Retailer Award recognises the retailer that has done most through corporate policy and/or public engagement to address ocean issues in the past year.
Marks and Spencer has won the award for its Forever Fish campaign, part of the excellent Plan A corporate sustainability plan. Forever Fish has three objectives 1) to protect our sea life, 2) to encourage the eating of lesser known species of seafood and 3) to involve volunteers in cleaning beaches and teaching children about marine life.
The Corporate & Social Responsibility Award is for the company that has done the most to address ocean conservation, whether through sustainability issues or addressing pollution threats, such as plastics.
Selfridges has taken the innovative and challenging step which risked their bottom line in taking single-use plastic bottles from its food halls and restaurants during their now-annual and splendid Project Ocean campaign.
Winner: Guy Stevens & Dr Andrea Marshall
The Science Award recognises the scientific work or paper that made the most original, important or insightful contribution to ocean conservation in the past year.
Guy and Andrea won the award for their work to highlight the vulnerability of two manta rays leading them to be listed under the Convention on International Trade in International Trade in Endangered Species.
Winner: Rob Ruiz
The restaurateur award is for the restaurant group, chef or restaurateur who has made the most outstanding commitment to ocean conservation.
Rob, a San Diego sushi chef and owner of The Land & Water Company won the award for his campaign to conserve the endangered vaquita porpoise – one of the rarest cetaceans in the world – in the Gulf of California. His fish is sustainable and caught in nets and traps which do not entangle porpoises. He has raised tens of thousands of dollars through his restaurant for vaquita conservation.
Winner: Emily Penn
The Fitzroy Award is named after the captain of the Beagle on which Darwin made his famous voyage to the Galapagos. This award is for the adventurer or explorer who achieved the most to further ocean conservation in the past 12 months.
Emily was skipper of two expeditions to investigate the amount of plastic in the oceans, one in the North Atlantic one in the south Atlantic. The crew of her 22 metre sailing boat were all women – so often it is the female of the species who hope for a better future, so often it is the male who causes the problems of the present.
Winner: Chris Bean, Kernowsashimi
The UK supplier of the year Award recognises the UK seafood supplier that has shown the most consistent, well-communicated and far-reaching commitment to sustainable sourcing of seafood.
Kernowsashimi is run by the Cornish fisherman Chris Bean, which supplies high quality, sustainable fish to restaurants who care, Moshi Moshi, the 2 Michelin starred Umu in Mayfair. Bean supplies both familiar species, such as haddock, and less familiar ones such as dogfish, wrasse and gurnard, to spread fishing pressure. He also runs masterclasses on fish.