A FISHERMAN from a Poole Harbour fishery has won the inaugural award for a new category in a spate of wins for the area.

Tom Russell, from the Poole Harbour Clam & Cockle Fishery, won the first ever Fisherman of the Year prize and this year’s Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Seafood Awards.

He is also chairman of the Poole Harbour and District Fishermen’s Association and a Poole Harbour Commissioner. Tom won the award for his leadership in working with various fisheries and conservation authorities.

Receiving his award, Tom Russell said: “I’m absolutely delighted to receive this award. I’ve always believed that fishing should be a sustainable occupation with a great regard for the future. We must ensure we have got healthy stocks and we must minimise our effects on the environment.

Bournemouth Echo: Poole Harbour Commissioner Tom RussellPoole Harbour Commissioner Tom Russell

“It sounds a bit of a cliché but by looking after our stocks and seas, we will be leaving a fantastic legacy for the people who come behind us and the future generations.”

The Cornish Hake fishery won the Ocean Hero award for its commitment to sustainability for its work to address impacts on the marine environment and for working with scientists to investigate interactions with bycatch.

The annual awards, now in its eighth year, were streamed from the National Marine Aquarium in Plymouth on October 7, 2021.

Katie Keay, senior fisheries outreach manager, said: “I want to offer huge congratulations to our two award-winning MSC certified fisheries.

“It is thanks to Tom Russell’s leadership and collaboration with Southern IFCA that Poole Harbour now has a demonstrably sustainable fishery. This ensures a good living for 40 licence holders with a good market for their catch and it makes him a worthy winner for our first ever Fisherman of the Year award.”