Applications Sought for Ninth Annual Global Aquaculture Innovation Award

The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) is now accepting applications for its ninth annual Global Aquaculture Innovation Award. The application deadline has been extended to June 30.

Established in 2012, the competition recognizes individuals and companies finding new solutions to the key challenges facing aquaculture. Examples of aquaculture innovations include technologies that mitigate the occurrence of animal diseases or parasites, or that reduce or eliminate the use of antibiotics to treat animals; technologies that improve production efficiencies at the hatchery or farm levels while mitigating environmental impact; advances in offshore or land-based recirculation technologies; novel feed ingredients; reductions in carbon footprint through improved energy efficiency or regeneration; and social programs designed to improve living and working conditions at the farm or processing levels.

University of Stirling postdoctoral researcher Simão Zacarias was the recipient of last year’s eighth annual Global Aquaculture Innovation Award, sponsored by Lineage Logistics, for his work on the shrimp-hatchery practice of unilateral eyestalk ablation. His research debunked the notion that the practice results in higher egg production and showed that it actually escalates disease vulnerability. Watch Zacarias’ GOAL 2020 presentation here:

Zacarias edged out two other finalists — Pablo Berner of Aquaterra/Nuseed and Mark Luecke of Prairie AquaTech. All three finalists were featured in GAA’s Global Aquaculture Advocate in September and presented at GAA’s GOAL 2020 conference on Oct. 8, held virtually for the first time ever last year. Of the 800 attendees who actively participated in GOAL 2020, about 200 voted.

Last year, GAA received a total of 30 applications from 17 countries — Belgium, Canada, Chile, Denmark, India, Indonesia, Israel, Malaysia, Mexico, the Netherlands, Norway, Panama, Spain, United Kingdom, United States, Tanzania and Thailand.

To apply, fill out the application form in its entirety and email it to GAA’s Dan Lee at and Steven Hedlund at Visuals of the innovation, including photographs and illustrations, are strongly encouraged to be included with the application.

Three finalists will be selected by five judges amongst a pool of applicants. The three finalists will then be invited to present at a GOAL 2021 virtual event in the fall. Once again this year, the winner will be selected by audience vote.

The competition is coordinated by GAA Standards Coordinator Dan Lee. In addition to Lee, the judges are GAA President and Founder Dr. George Chamberlain and existing and former GAA Standards Oversight Committee members Alejandro Buschmann of i-mar Research and the Development Center of Coastal Resources and Environments; Dawn Purchase of the Marine Conservation Society; and Michael Tlusty of the University of Massachusetts-Boston. For the third consecutive year, the winner was selected by an audience vote.

The previous winners are:
2020: Simão Zacarias, University of Stirling, Scotland
2019: Mike Forbes, Ace Aquatec, Scotland
2018: Zach Stein, Osmo Systems, United States
2017: Walt Rakitsky, Corbion (formerly TerraVia), United States
2016: Karin Pittman, University of Bergen, Norway
2015: Werner Jost, Camanor Produtos Marinhos Ltda., Brazil
2014: Rodrigo Prado, USONIC Ltda., Chile
2013: Amir Sagi, Ben Gurion University, Israel

Contact GAA’s Steven Hedlund at if you’re interested in sponsoring the ninth annual Global Aquaculture Innovation Award.

About GAA
The Global Aquaculture Alliance is an international, nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture. Through the development of its Best Aquaculture Practices certification standards, GAA has become the leading standards-setting organization for aquaculture seafood.