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Media release: Who will be the inaugural Young Fisher of the Year?

The search is on for the next generation of young fishers working across Aotearoa New Zealand’s seafood industry, with nominations now open for the inaugural Young Fisher of the Year Award. 

Seafood industry networking group Young Fish NZ has partnered with the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen (Federation) and Sunderland Marine to start the award, which celebrates a young fisher who is under 35 years old and has demonstrated skill, commitment, and determination to succeed in the fishing industry.  

Ben Pierce, who co-founded Young Fish in 2022, says he hopes the award motivates young people to stick with their careers in the seafood industry.  

“One of Young Fish’s core objectives is to help young people progress their careers and provide key professional development opportunities.  

“Once you break into the industry, it can sometimes feel like, ‘So where do I go next?’ It means a lot to partner with organisations like the Federation and Sunderland Marine, to show our young fishers the industry is here to support them and that there’s a community of diverse mentors they can lean on. 

“I’m excited to see who’s nominated this year and encourage everyone to put forward the name of a hardworking young fisher they know.” 

The winner will be announced at this year’s Federation conference, which will be held in Tauranga on Thursday 30 May. The lucky recipient will walk away with $5,000 in sponsorship for maritime training to further their career, courtesy of Sunderland Marine. 

Federation President Doug Saunders-Loder says it's essential for the future of the industry for everyone to embrace the ‘younger generation’ by recognising their obvious commitment to the industry and supporting their growth. 

“My hope is this award helps young fishers understand that, ultimately, they are the future of our seafood industry and we want them to take the next step in their career – maybe go after their next qualification or ticket or even get involved in fisheries management or advocacy.  

“Federation members are always here for each other, on and off the water. The Young Fisher of the Year Award is another important way we can offer that essential support. If the winner of the award isn’t already a Federation member, of course I hope they join!” 

Nomination details: 



Media Contact 

Claire Williamson 

Publik Agency 

[email protected] 

022 199 7934 

About the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen 

Founded in 1953, the New Zealand Federation of Commercial Fishermen is a national organisation that represents and advocates for independent, private owner-operator fishers and their crew – typically operating small vessels of 10–30 metres. The Federation has around 375 members, who make up approximately 30% of all inshore owner-operators and crew operating in coastal New Zealand waters.  

About Young Fish NZ 

Started in 2022 by passionate aquaculture minds Ben Pierce, Josh Wyber and Maegen Blom, Young Fish NZ is a networking group for under-35s involved in all parts of the seafood industry – from fishing and marine farming to seafood processing, marketing and science. Young Fish’s mission is to connect young people in Aotearoa New Zealand’s seafood communities and foster their growth and career progression in the industry.  

About Sunderland Marine 

Sunderland Marine provides market-leading fixed premium marine insurance products, bringing a wealth of experience and technical knowledge to clients around the world.