2018 is an exciting time for Ireland's seafood industry as emerging technologies and a desire to innovate and drive a whole new realm of possibilities for professionals in the sector. From new products and services to social innovation and environmental stewardship, turning ideas into results takes courage and vision - both traits that are certainly worth celebrating.

The National Seafood Awards 2018 recognises the outstanding achievements of seafood industry leaders across Ireland in four overarching categories based on BIM’s main strategic priorities: Innovation, Sustainability, Competitiveness and Skills.

If your business has gone above and beyond to benefit, support and progress the Irish seafood industry in 2018, why not enter the National Seafood Awards 2018?

To find the most suitable award entry form for you or your organisation, please browse the list of awards below. There is no limit to the number of award entries you may submit, however, please be sure to read the criteria for each entry carefully as requirements vary from award to award.

Innovation

BIM is working to assist fleets, farms and factories to develop new and smarter ways of doing business.

What is this award for?

BIM Best in Fishing Innovation award recognises and encourages members of Ireland’s seafood industry for excellence in the development of new fishing practices. This award promotes greater innovation in the development and adoption of new technologies and fishing practices which result in improvements in fish catches or fishery management.

Who can enter to win this award?

This award is open to any individual/group working in the fishing sector, including fishing crew or other relevant collectives who have introduced a new fishing practice which successfully demonstrates an innovative approach to the improvement of fishing. Entrants must be over 18 years of age.

What are the requirements for this award?

Entrants must demonstrate clear improvement(s) in a fishing practice; e.g. voluntary uptake of a practice which improves conservation of a fishery; improvement to the quality or handling of a catch; cost reduction or the addition of value to a catch.

What are the award criteria?

Entrants will be judged on the following criteria:

Level of innovation (25%)
Describe the level of innovation attached to your new fishing practice. Your description should indicate if the innovation involved a major change to the former fishing practice. Details should be entered for all innovations.

Relevance (25%)
Demonstrate the relevance of your innovation. This section should cover how your innovation addressed a specific problem/risk or provided a good solution to an issue faced by the fishing industry.

Outcomes (25%)
How effective is/are your innovative practice(s)? What are its benefits? You must outline these items in detail and also provide details about any environmental and/or financial benefits associated with the new practice.

Transfer (15%)
Show how this new practice can be learned and easily transferred to other users.

Motivation (10%)
You must outline the motivation that drove this innovation.

Download entry form

What is this award for?

BIM Best in Aquaculture Innovation award recognises and encourages members of the Irish aquaculture industry for excellence in developing new practices, techniques or technologies which result in improvements to fish farming efficiency, sustainability or profitability.

Who can enter to win this award?

This award is open to any fish farmer, fish farming company or other relevant collective who has introduced a new aquaculture practice or technology that successfully demonstrates an innovative approach to the improvement of fish farming. Entrants must be registered and operating in Ireland for the past two years. The innovation must have been applied on a farm in Ireland in the past two years. Entrants must be over 18 years of age.

What are the requirements for this award?

Entrants must demonstrate clear improvement(s) in aquaculture practice; e.g. voluntary uptake of a practice which improves efficiency, fish welfare, sustainability, the quality or handling of the harvest; contributes to cost reduction or the addition of value to a harvest.

What are the award criteria?

Entrants will be judged on the following criteria:

Level of innovation (25%)
Please provide as much detail as possible to describe the level of innovation attached to the new practice. You must clearly indicate if the innovation involves a major change to the former aquaculture practice. Similarly, you are required to clarify if more than one innovation is involved.

Relevance (25%)
Provide as much detail as possible to describe the relevance of the innovation.You must show whether a specific problem or risk was resolved through the introduction of the innovation, and also state whether or not the innovation provided a good solution to an issue faced by the aquaculture industry.

Outcomes (25%)
Describe in as much detail as possible the effectiveness of the innovative practice(s). Clearly outline the benefits and describe environmental and/or financial advantages associated with the new practice.

Transfer (15%)
Describe how this new practice can be learned and transferred to other users.

Motivation (10%)
Outline your company’s motivation behind the innovation.

Download entry form

What is this award for?

BIM Best in Processing Innovation award recognises a project, action or initiative carried out by an organisation in Ireland’s seafood processing sector that can best demonstrate true innovation. The innovation can be in any area; e.g. a new product or packaging, innovative use of technology, or a strategic partnership that has brought your organisation to the next level. The award encourages greater innovation through new seafood product development which incorporates new technologies with a view to attracting markets and consumers and increasing sales potential.

Who can enter to win this award?

This award is open to companies in possession of any seafood product that is not currently on the market, or for a product that incorporates new technologies to improve the product or to provide a competitive advantage. Entrants must hold an approval number from the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority. Entrants must be over 18 years of age.

What are the requirements for this award?

Entrants must demonstrate knowledge of the basic concepts of food product development by creating an original prototype formula, testing the product through focus groups, and developing a marketing/sales strategy. The innovation must have taken place in the last two years. Participants must prepare a display of the suggested product packaging.

What are the award criteria?

Entrants will be judged on the following criteria:

The innovation (30%)
Describe the product, service, supply chain or partnership/s that demonstrate exceptional innovation. Your description must include the rationale behind your project or initiative and must indicate if the innovation was required for a specific problem. Entries must highlight the unique aspects of your company’s innovation. Include an overview of how the idea was developed from concept through design and implementation.

Market position (30%)
Where in the market will your innovation be placed? You must indicate how the market or customer will recognise the innovation. Entries must show how the innovation will benefit the market and consumers. The benefit to the company must also be shown. Market share gain as a result of your company’s innovation must also be accounted for.

Financial performance (30%)
Describe how your company’s innovation has impacted financial performance. Include details about how the innovation will add Net value to the company. Your description must highlight to what degree the innovation is an improvement on existing company methods. You should also indicate how effective innovation is acknowledged and/or rewarded within your company, and show what financial and time resources your company commits to this area.

Motivation (10%)
What motivated your company to pursue this innovation?

Download entry form

Sustainability

Bord Iascaigh Mhara is working to establish and drive a range of effective approaches to differentiate Irish seafood products from key competitors based on the demonstration of their keen environmental credentials and provenance.

What is this award for?

BIM Best in Sustainable Fishing award recognises commitment to environmental and social sustainability through the adoption of responsible fishing operations and practices. It encourages those in the Irish fishing sector to act as stewards of the marine environment by promoting an active participation and cooperation in the provision of scientific data. This award also commends the delivery of safe and appropriate working conditions aboard fishing vessels.

Who can enter to win this award?

Entry for this award is open to all individuals/groups within the Irish fishing sector who are registered and working in the industry for two or more years and who are showing an active commitment to environmental and social sustainability. Entrants must have worked on an Irish registered fishing vessel in the last two years. Entrants must be over 18 years of age.

What are the requirements for this award?

Entrants must demonstrate the implementation of responsible fishing practices, their commitment to fuel efficiency/;reduction of Co2 emissions and steps taken to improve waste management, as well as provide evidence of active participation in scientific research, monitoring and data collection programmes. Entrants must show a commitment to positive crew welfare initiatives and demonstrate their efforts to contribute to social sustainability and their local communities. If fulfilled, these requirements will collectively contribute meaningfully to the industry’s future sustainability.

What are the award criteria?

Entrants will be judged on the following criteria:                           

Responsible Fishing Practices (20%) 
Describe in as much detail as possible your commitment to responsible fishing practices, including through the use of selective fishing gears. Highlight any practices or initiatives that go above legal requirements. Past use of selective fishing gears should be included in your description, as should examples in the use of:

  • Codends above the minimum legal mesh size
  • Square mesh panels
  • Sorting grids
  • Devices to reduce bycatch of sensitive species (e.g. marine mammals)
  • Technical Conservation measures
  • Collective and individual actions

Reduction of CO2 emissions & fuel efficiency initiatives (15%) 
Describe in as much detail as possible initiatives you have undertaken to improve fuel efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Examples include:

  • Modification of vessels to reduce fuel consumption and the fitting of fuel monitoring equipment
  • Modifications to fishing gears
  • Adaptations to fishing practices to improve fuel efficiency
  • Activities that reduce or offset CO2 emissions

Crew welfare (15%)
Outline your commitment to crew welfare highlighting initiatives that improve health and safety on board. Details of crew upskilling opportunities must also be included.

Other examples to include are:

  • Evidence that crewmembers have been provided with Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and completed the necessary usage training
  • Evidence that crew have completed relevant health and safety training courses

Waste reduction and management (15%)
Outline your waste management policy. This could include participation in initiatives such as the Net Recycling Programme, Fishing for Litter

Social sustainability (20%)
Outline your approach to social sustainability. Detail the active role played in your coastal community and include examples such as participation in local community initiatives and/or membership of the RNLI or the coastguard.

Participation in scientific research monitoring (15%)
Outline any scientific research monitoring and/or data collection programmes in which you have participated. Your outline can include examples such as:

  • BIM gear research or Sentinel Vessel Programme
  • Marine Institute data collection programmes & stock assessment surveys
  • Attendance of workshops given by BIM or other agencies e.g. Industry Science Partnership
Download entry form

What is this award for?

BIM Best in Sustainable Aquaculture award recognises and encourages the highest level of environmental performance by aquaculture operators who also show good integration into the local community while maintaining a focus on staff welfare.

Who can enter to win this award?

Entry for this award is open to any aquaculture operator who can demonstrate a commitment to creating a healthier environment, both for Natural Ecosystems and for those involved in – or who may be impacted by – their operation. Entrants must be licensed and working in the Irish aquaculture sector for the past two years. Entrants must be over 18 years of age.

What are the requirements for this award?

Entrants must demonstrate responsibility for environmental and social management across operations. Continual improvement of practices should be at the forefront of the management approach.

If your business has been operating formal environmental management procedures for a long time, continual improvement aspects will be considered as more prominent than your key environmental achievements. For companies who have recently adopted an environmental management approach, large environmental achievements should make up the bulk of your application.

What are the award criteria?

Entrants will be judged on the following criteria:

Environmental achievements and continual improvement of environmental performance (40%)
Outline your organisation’s environmental achievements and continual improvement of environmental performance.

Certification in one or more environmental initiative (10%)
Hold certification in one or more environmental standards/programmes. Memberships can include the following: ECOPACT; Origin Green; CQA Eco; CQA Organic; any organic certification meeting the European regulations; e.g. ISO14001; ASC; BAP; MSC.

Initiatives for staff welfare, training and incentives (25%)
Your entry must show an effective business model for staff welfare, training and incentives. This may include training, diversification of staff roles, staff outings, provision of food and clothing.

Community initiatives (25%)
Provide evidence of membership of a CLAMS (Coordinated Local Aquaculture Management Scheme) or other resource user group/local community initiative. Your company’s community initiative can include voluntary work with charities, monetary, seafood product and other donations, as well as participation in community/tourism initiatives.

Download entry form

What is this award for?

BIM Best in Sustainable Processing recognises and encourages the highest level of environmental performance in Ireland’s seafood processing sector. It is an opportunity to highlight businesses that have progressively promoted green initiatives, achieved resource efficiency savings, and reduced their environmental impact.

Who can enter to win this award?

This award is open to any seafood processing business in Ireland demonstrating good environmental practice as a key business strategy and as part of its everyday business operation. Entrants must be over 18 years of age.

What are the requirements for this award?

Entrants must be seen by judges to have taken responsibility for environmental and social management across their operations.

What are the award criteria?

Entrants will be judged on the following criteria:

Energy efficiency (15%)
Provide details of your organisation’s energy efficiency savings, reduction initiatives, and/or renewable investment.

Water Efficiency (15%)
Show how your organisation employs water efficiency savings to help reduce consumption, prevent pollution and promote water-saving initiatives.

Waste Minimisation Projects (15%)
Give details of your waste recycling measures, reuse and waste minimisation, and/or packaging reduction

Raw Material Sourcing (10%)
Provide details of your green suppliers or materials and/or sustainable sourcing methods. Do you source raw materials from suppliers with recognised certifications, and/or develop sustainability initiatives with suppliers?

Corporate Social Responsibility (15%)
Demonstrate your efforts to support training, safety, diversity, and the health and the engagement of staff. How are you involved in or actively supporting the local community?

Certification of Environmental Standard (15%)
You must provide details of your organisation’s certification in at least one environmental management standard. This can include: ISO 14001; ISO 50001; ASC; MSC, or any organic certification meeting European regulations.

Origin Green (10%)
If you are a member of the Bord Bia Origin Green Programme, you must provide details of your membership, demonstrating a proven and measured commitment to sustainability.

Other (5%)
Include any/all other initiatives you are involved with that contributes to the sustainability of both the company and the local environment; e.g. biodiversity or the improvement of natural habitats.

Download entry form

Competitiveness

Bord Iascaigh Mhara is committed to expertise on national, regional and global seafood economic trends, and to sharing them with the broader sector.

What is this award for?

BIM Fishing Enterprise of the Year award recognises competitive excellence in a fishing enterprise. It seeks to highlight the entrepreneurial spirit of Irish fishermen who find ways of maintaining a competitive edge while maximising value and returns from their enterprises, both on their vessel and on the shore.

Who can enter to win this award?

This award is open to any/all fishermen who are registered and have worked in an Irish fishing enterprise for the past two years. Entrants must be over 18 years of age.

What are the requirements for this award?

Entrants must show how they created a keen competitive advantage through cost-saving and value-added initiatives on board their vessels and via any related onshore activities.

What are the award criteria?

Entrants will be judged on the following criteria:

Added Value (20%)
Show in as much detail as possible how you have added value to your fishery products. You must detail how this has been achieved (e.g. through primary processing on board; grading or packing at sea; labelling; selling fish locally; selling direct to market).

Buyer/marketplace engagement (20%)
Have you successfully engaged with buyers or directly to the market? Provide as much detail as possible about your company’s strategy in this regard, as well as how this engagement has led to the securing of markets or the addition of value to your fishery products (e.g. working to customer product specifications; holding regular meetings with buyers; factory visits; attending trade shows).

Innovation (20%)
Provide as much detail as possible on your company’s innovation strategy. Your description should cover what innovations your company may or may not have undertaken to meet the needs and demands of new or current customers (e.g. packaging and labelling; the implementation of traceability systems; use of new technologies on board to improve quality).

Costs (20%)
Has your organisation successfully cut controllable costs? If so, provide a costs outline with as much detail as possible to show how has this been achieved (e.g. setting business, trip or operational targets; monitoring fuel efficiency; rationalisation of operational costs; rationalisation of handling and transport costs).

Employment (10%)
Outline your company's approach to employment. This should include how the enterprise has created direct and indirect employment opportunities and should list the number of jobs directly or indirectly maintained or created.

Strategic Alliances (10%)
Outline your company's approach to forming strategic alliances with other enterprises. Your outline should indicate the level of success for each alliance (e.g. Does the enterprise utilise group transport or fill orders with other producers?).

Download entry form

What is this award for?

BIM Aquaculture Enterprise of the Year award honours a leading company in Ireland’s aquaculture industry that has shown leadership in developing and innovating an aspect of this sector.

Who can enter to win this award?

This award is open to any aquaculture company operating in Ireland for the past two years. Entrants must be over 18 years of age.

What are the requirements for this award?

Entrants must show a high degree of innovation, either at the production end of the business or through profitability. A key requirement will be how your company developed the market for your product or the route to market. Direct routes to market or a move away from commodity trading would be seen as a distinct advantage.

What are the award criteria?

Entrants will be judged on the following criteria:

Profitability (25%)
Entrants must outline their company's profitablity over the past five years. Production volume and employment figures should be covered in this section.

Technical innovation (25%)
Entrants must outline how their company demonstrated a technical innovation or new practice in production. Entries must include evidence of the innovation's/practice's efficiency and impact.

Marketplace (35%)
Entrants must demonstrate any change in route to market they have used. Companies can also profile any other novel approach to market they may have utilised

Creativity (15%)
Demonstrate how your company is developing in a creative and value adding way. Entries should cover an example of this creativity and value adding.

Download entry form

What is this Award for?

BIM Processing Enterprise of the Year award recognises excellence and commitment to the entrepreneurial spirit in the Irish seafood sector.

Who can enter to win this award?

This award is open to any Irish seafood enterprise that can demonstrate excellence in entrepreneurship. Entrants must be able to demonstrate sales greater than €5 million in 2017 and proof of employment of twenty or more permanent staff. Entrants must be over 18 years of age.

What are the requirements for this award?

Entrepreneurship can be defined as the capacity and willingness to develop, organise and manage a business venture along with any/all of its risks in order to make a profit. Entrepreneurial leaders demonstrate abilities to optimise risk through their innovative capacity to take advantage of opportunities. This requires taking personal responsibility to lead and engage teams and to manage change within a dynamic environment for the benefit of an organisation.

What are the award criteria?

Entrants will be judged on the following criteria:

Leadership and strategy (25%)
Provide as much detail as possible about how leadership and vision has been demonstrated by your company. This description must include the company’s key strategic advantages. You must also capture your company’s excellence in the execution of its business strategies. Your company’s focus and commitment of resources to innovation is also a key requirement of your entry.

Market position (25%)
Provide as much detail as possible about your current market position and include trends of steadiness and growth. Your outline must account for your company’s customer engagement programme. Insight into how your company is performing regarding traction in new market opportunities must also feature.

Financial and employment performance (25%)
Describe in as much detail as possible your company’s performance regarding revenue growth, profitability and job creation/retention.

Technical and product excellence (25%)
What are the standards of your company’s products and/or services? Describe these standards in detail and also include your company’s development pipeline of innovative products, processes and services. Company plans for potential recognition through technology awards must also be described.

Download entry form

What is this award for?

BIM Best Seafood Retailer of the Year award aims to find the best seafood shops and counters in Ireland's seafood sector. It will recognise seafood specialists who excel in seafood knowledge, sourcing, customer focus and innovation.

Who can enter to win this award?

This competition is open to independent seafood specialists and supermarket seafood counters. An award will be presented in each category: three Supermarket Seafood Counter finalists and three Independent Seafood Specialist finalists will be shortlisted for the awards.

What are the requirements for this award?

Entrants must have an excellent seafood range, solid product knowledge, an appealing product display and strong customer service skills. Entries will be judged over two phases. The first adjudication phase will be based on your submitted entry form. You are encouraged to provide photos, images, business plans you may have to enhance your entry. In the second phase of judging, only shops and/or counters shortlisted from the first phase will receive a shop/counter visit from a member of the awards' independent judging panel.

Details of shop/counter visits will be circulated to shortlisted entrants.

What are the award criteria?

Entrants will be judged on the following criteria:

Premises and Display (20%)
Your premises and equipment must be hygienically clean and well-maintained. Your entry should include the following areas: hygiene standards of premises; fixtures and fittings; equipment; posters; notice boards; labels and utensils; maintenance standards of premises (inside and outside); hand washing/drying facilities.

Demonstrate how your shop or counter's display has good visual impact and appeal. Your description should include details about: fish displayed in a manner that will maintain product quality and the correct temperature; fish merchandised in an inviting and structured manner; non-seafood items (e.g. garnishes) used on the display; freezer and chill display; packaging.

Seafood quality and freshness (10%)
Illustrate how you ensure excellent quality and freshness across all of your seafood range. Can you successfully demonstrate knowledge of how to assess and maintain the quality - on display and in storage - of your products? How do you assess freshness indicators to determine the shelf life of all fish, crustaceans and molluscs on display? What is your policy with regard to factors affecting shelf life? What are the ways your team is equipped to prepare your product for the customer (e.g. skinning; filleting; pin boning) How do you maintain cold chain management for your seafood?

Seafood range (10%)
Describe your seafood range? Include information on the following: wet fish display counter (range of species and formats); value-added range; variety of products that are customer friendly (such as kid's offerings and/or boned/skinned portions); value-added products and accompanying sauces and/or marinades. Chill and freezer displays should cover the full variety of products.

Hygiene (10%)
Outline your commitment to maintaining a good standard of hygiene among staff. Include information about hygiene practices, clean uniform, cleanliness standards for hair and appropriate coverings, and where appropriate the cash handling procedure.

Seafood product knowledge (10%)
How do you and/or your team advise customers on the following: cooking methods; recipes; nutrition; the location of bones in fish; species differentiation; how to store fish at home?

Innovation (10%)
Demonstrate the ways in which your establishment embraces innovation by including a description or a sample of value-added products, new packaging, waste utilisation, display techniques.

Food safety (10%)
You must be able to show evidence of a food safety management system that includes staff knowledge of food safety hazards associated with seafood; e.g. histamine; biotoxins; viruses; allergies; parasitic worms; pathogenic bacteria, as well as how to control these hazards. What controls are in place to adequately prevent cross-contamination, the risks associated with refreezing fish, sushi and sashimi, the risks associated with the re-immersion of live bivalve molluscan shellfish, and to maintain and adhere to food safety legislation?

Consumer information (20%)
How do you provide consumers with clear information that is helpful, correct and that does not mislead? For fish and shellfish sold loose, the following information should be provided on the counter label or in close proximity to the product: species name; scientific name; production method; origin; fishing gear used (where relevant); allergen information; price per kg or per item; whether an item has been defrosted (where applicable). All products listed should be labelled in accordance with legislative requirements.

Download entry form

Skills

The delivery of a structured career path through the provision of lifelong, accredited learning will help to create a professional, educated talent pool for the seafood sector in Ireland.

The BIM Student of the Year award will be presented at the discretion of Bord Iascaigh Mhara. No application form exists for this award.

Students from BIM’s National Fisheries College of Ireland, based in Castletownbere, Co Cork and Greencastle, Co. Donegal, will be nominated by teaching staff and principals from both colleges for this award. BIM promotes careers in the Irish catching, fish farming and seafood processing sectors by training new entrants and upgrading the skills of existing practitioners. Courses offered currently cover skipper and crew training, engineering, and safety education and skills.

Any student nominated for the BIM Student of the Year award must display exceptional commitment to his/her chosen course and be an outstanding performer in the area of fisheries, aquaculture or processing.

The BIM Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented to a person who, in the opinion of Bord Iascaigh Mhara, has demonstrated an exceptional record of achievement in Ireland’s seafood sector for many years, maintaining outstanding performance within the industry during their time.

There is no entry form for the BIM Lifetime Achievement Award as it will be decided at the discretion of BIM.