Seabird Smart Fishing trophy travels the length of the country

The 2015 joint Seabird Smart Award winners got together in Bluff this week to hand over the trophy.


Bluff fishing industry stalwart Mike Black has waited 12 months to put the trophy he received at the 2015 Seabird Smart Fishing Awards on his mantle piece. The Award, announced by the Minister of Conservation Hon. Maggie Barry ONZM, at a ceremony at Parliament in 2015, was jointly won by two people, Mike and Tom Searle from Leigh Fisheries in Warkworth.  Tom has held the trophy for the last 12 months, and in February traveled the length of the country to personally hand it to Mike. He also got a chance to look at Mike's local port and a couple of fishing vessels.

A handover ceremony was held in Bluff attended by MP Sarah Dowie and Mayor Tim Shadbolt. 

More on Mike...

Mike is Depot Manager for Talley’s in Bluff. He manages 20 vessels from Moeraki to Jackson Bay.  When the Southern Inshore Fisheries Management Company enlisted his help in rolling out Seabird Risk Management Plans for inshore trawlers, he had it done within two months.

Mike grew up in a household where conservation and fishing went hand in hand. He believes looking after seabirds is the right thing to do and he is using his influence to achieve this.  Mike and his dad are also passionate about good rubbish management on vessels and took part in the Fiordland coastal clean-up in 2015 and will take part in a clean-up of the Southern coast of Stewart Island this year.

More on Tom...

Tom is Operations Manager for Leigh Fisheries. Through Tom’s efforts, Leigh Fisheries has ensured almost every longline skipper they do business with has attended a Seabird Smart Training workshop. He has also helped the Ministry for Primary Industries/Department of Conservation jointly funded Liaison officers prepare Seabird Risk management Plans for each vessel.

Tom has helped coordinate trips for fishermen to the black petrel colony on Great Barrier Island/Aotea and is actively working to ensure fishing takes place in a way that, in his own words “ensures these majestic birds are protected for the few months they are in the Gulf raising their chicks.”

The National Seabird Smart Fishing Awards will be held again in 2017.