Marlborough man takes top award

Skipper honoured for life on the water

CHLOE WINTER
Last updated 05:00 29/07/2014
Greg Smith
SCOTT HAMMOND/ Fairfax NZ
MUSSEL MAN: Kono Seafoods assistant marine farm manager Greg Smith was awarded the Donaghys Outstanding Marine Farmer Award last week.

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A Marlborough man who has dedicated almost 30 years to the mussel industry and has spent most of his life on the water has been named marine farmer of the year.

Kono Seafoods assistant marine farm manager Greg Smith was presented with Donaghys Outstanding Marine Farmer Award at the Marine Farming Association awards dinner last Friday.

Smith said it was great to be recognised for his work but believed there were other people who also deserved.

"It's good to be acknowledged . . . I wasn't going to go but [a workmate] rung and said I should come out for a couple of beers.

"It was sprung on me."

Smith has worked for Kono Seafoods for 27 years and started as a crew member before making his way to senior skipper.

"I've run all the boats right from the word go."

In October 2013, he got an office job.

He used to be out in the boats Monday to Thursday and while he was still out there for 40 hours a week, he works one day a week in the office.

When he is out on the water, he looks after about 50 mussel farms spread over 120 hectares throughout the Top of the South and owns 2 hectares of mussel farms in Port Underwood.

While Smith admitted mussels were not his favourite food, he loves his work, he said.

"I still love it out there . . . but I don't go on holiday there.

"I've always done something that has to do with the water."

He can not imagine doing anything else, he said.

The award came with $2000 worth of gear from Donaghys, which would buy him "a couple of thousand metres of rope" for his mussel farm.

Marine Farming Association awards were also handed out to the team of The Lady Marie, a harvesting vessel owned and run by Havelock company Sanford. The team won the Port Marlborough Environmental Award.

Former Sanford managing director Eric Barratt was awarded the Marine Farming Association Merit Award for the significant difference he had made to the marine farming industry in New Zealand over the past 35 years.

The Ngai Tahu Seafood Resources Recent Entrant Award went to Gascoigne Wicks lawyer Peta-Claire Brunel, and Nelson marine ecologist Nigel Keeley, of Cawthron Institute, was awarded the Sensor Systems Research and Development Award.

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- The Marlborough Express

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