The Neptune Award

The 2021 Neptune Award Winner

Celeste Leroux of Virgil Group

The Neptune Award 2021 was given to the solution that advances our understanding of the ocean and helps minimize our impact on these resources, resulting in more resilient bodies of water, including healthy marine life and coastlines

The 2021 Neptune Award was presented to Virgil Group for its novel software to keep illegal seafood out of trade. Illegal and mislabeled seafood comprise up to 30% of the $600B global market. Those who fish illegally don’t report what they catch or pay for permits, which makes sustainably managing the world’s fisheries much harder, and allows them to undercut their competitors who play by the rules. Virgil software turns traceability data into an intelligent assessment of risk that importers, exporters, customs brokers, governments and anyone else along the supply chain can use.


The 2019 Neptune Award Winner

Nicholas Flanders of Opus 12

The Neptune Award 2019 ($100,000 USD) was given to the solution that advances our understanding of the ocean and that helps minimize our impact on these resources, even while using them for human benefit, resulting in more resilient bodies of water including healthy marine life and coastlines.

The 2019 Neptune Award was presented to Opus 12 for its innovative work developing a novel device to turn CO2 into chemicals and fuels at a lower cost and with lower greenhouse gas emissions than conventional production.

The Opus 12 team, based in Berkeley, CA (USA), has demonstrated the production of 16 high-value chemical products and is focused currently on producing carbon monoxide (CO)/syngas, ethylene, and methane from CO2.  Two Opus 12 co-founders were part of the inaugural cohort at Cyclotron Road in 2015-2017.

The Neptune Award, sponsored by the Marine Research Hub of South Florida and the Littlejohn Family Foundation is given to the solution that advances our understanding of the ocean and helps minimize our impact on these resources, even while using them for human benefit, resulting in more resilient bodies of water including healthy marine life and coastlines.


Sam Teicher of Coral Vita accepts the 2018 Neptune Award

The Neptune Award 2018 $100,000 USD was given to the solution that advances our understanding of the ocean and that helps minimize our impact on these resources, even while using them for human benefit, resulting in more resilient bodies of water including healthy marine life and coastlines.

The winner of the Ocean Exchange Neptune Award 2018 was Coral Vita (Bahamas). Coral Vita uses land-based, high-tech farms of coral to restore dying reefs with corals that exhibit higher growth rates and enhanced resiliency to a variety of ocean conditions.


The Neptune Award 2017 $100,000 USD is given to the solution that advances our understanding of the ocean and that helps minimize our impact on these resources, even while using them for human benefit, resulting in more resilient bodies of water including healthy marine life and coastlines.

Randy Skinner (left) of Wing Trawling Systems accepts the Neptune Award on stage at Ocean Exchange 2017.

The winner of the 2017 Ocean Exchange Neptune Award is Wing Trawling System or WTS (USA-AL), presented by Randy Skinner.

This system can be adapted to existing commercial shrimp boats to reduce unwanted finfish by-catch by 60%+, while allowing a 20% increase in shrimp capture, and has shown 35% reduction in fuel consumption.  The WTS looks like an airplane wing that flies just over the sea floor and holds the net open, eliminating the heavy sea floor contact of the trawl doors. The system was created and field-tested with six design generations by WTS founder, Randy Skinner, who has 49 years experience as a shrimper and many years experience as a mechanical designer.

Below is a one page summary of the solution. Read the full press release or visit the Wing Trawling System web site to learn more.