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Marine / Scallop fisherman scoops ‘hero of the year’ prize

Whalsay’s George Andrew Williamson has been recognised by the Marine Stewardship Council

George Andrew Williamson. Photo: David Loftus for MSC

A SCALLOP fisherman from Shetland has been honoured at the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) annual awards ceremony.

George Andrew Williamson, who lives in and fishes from Whalsay, scooped the MSC UK Fishing Hero of the Year award for his work in championing the importance of sustainable seafood.

The award is designed to recognise an outstanding individual that has driven forward further sustainability efforts in a UK fishery that is already MSC certified.

The MSC UK Awards, which are a celebration of the commitment to sustainable seafood across the whole supply chain from ocean to plate, were held last night (Thursday) at the Fishmongers’ Hall in London, and were sponsored by Seafood Scotland.

Williamson, who accepted his award via videolink during the ceremony, said: “It’s a great honour and I was really not expecting this.

Photo: Hugo Philpott for MSC

“My father was fishing for 55 years before I was born and hopefully my son will take over from me and it is due to the commitment to sustainability that this is possible.

“If it wasn’t for sustainability the whole scallop industry would be finished here.”

Williamson – who is in the process of retiring from fishing – served on the board of the Shetland Shellfish Management Organisation (SSMO), which is responsible for the fisheries’ MSC certificate, for five years.

He was also part of a major MSC campaign to promote Sustainable Seafood Week in 2022.

SSMO coordinator John Robertson said: “George Andrew is a genuine treasure and always keen to help.

“He’s a pleasure to spend time with and he truly is dedicated to the fine art of enjoying fish. The last time he appeared in my office he had marinated herring and fish egg paste for me to try.”

The MSC says it is an international non-profit organisation which sets globally recognised, science-based standards for sustainable fishing and seafood traceability.

The blue MSC ecolabel on a seafood product means that it comes from a wild-catch fishery which has been independently certified.

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