Innovation award goes to trail blazer

A seafood industry award for innovation has gone to a man who has been a trail blazer in innovation.

Greg Summerton of Okain’s Bay Seafood in Lyttleton is the recipient of the 2022 Future Development Innovations Award.

The winner was announced tonight at the Seafood Stars awards at the conclusion of the first day of the Seafood New Zealand conference in Nelson.

Summerton, through his four companies, was an early adopter of biofuels, the first to become carbon neutral, and a champion for finding markets for lesser-known seafood.

He has scoured the world looking for innovative solutions and, as a result, his vessel Kawatea has gone from an already efficient long liner to a more sustainable pot-catching vessel.

Seafood New Zealand chief executive, Dr Jeremy Helson, says Summerton was driven by his ambition to have zero-bycatch, bring live fish to the surface, and have an increased catch while lessening sea floor interactions.

“Greg Summerton has led the way because of his conviction that improvements to fishing can always be made. His single-minded pursuit of innovative ideas has seen him become a leader in his field and the industry owes him a vote of thanks for the commitment he has shown.

“It is a real pleasure to recognise his work with this award, as it is very well deserved. Greg believes that buyers of his fish are looking for honesty and integrity from their supplier and was quick to learn that a commitment to sustainability resulted in a premium price for his seafood.

“Greg Summerton’s contribution to this industry is significant,” says Helson.

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