Aquaculture for all

Aqua scholarship launched in memory of Kurt Grinnell

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A scholarship programme, in memory of aquaculture leader and advocate, Kurt Frederick Grinnell, who lost his life in a tragic car accident in April 2021, has been launched this week.

Kurt Grinnell was a tireless advocate of aquaculture

The Kurt Grinnell Aquaculture Scholarship Foundation has been formed by The Northwest Aquaculture Alliance (NWAA) and the National Aquaculture Association (NAA). It aims to carry on Kurt Grinnell’s legacy by providing financial assistance for any enrolled member of a United States-recognised Tribe who is pursuing or wishes to pursue studies in aquaculture or aquaculture technology. The scholarship may be used at any recognised university, community college, technical college, trade school, or other recognised institution or programme.

Grinnell, a well-known youth advocate as well as aquaculture champion, was a member of the Sequim, Washington-based Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe – where he was highly regarded and revered as a peacemaker, visionary and dedicated family man. He and his wife and business partner, Terri Grinnell, built Jamestown Seafood, a joint venture with the Tribe, into a multi-million-dollar business with 50 employees. In addition to being actively involved with NAA, Kurt served as vice-president of the NWAA board of directors.

The initiative was announced during the plenary session of Aquaculture America 2021, which is currently taking place in San Antonio, Texas, by Jim Parsons – industry leader, scholarship foundation steering committee member, and longtime friend and business partner of Kurt Grinnell.

“Kurt embodied the belief of his culture that it is important to plan seven generations ahead,” Parsons noted. “He understood that the culture of finfish, shellfish, and aquatic plants was an important solution to the decline in harvest of traditional wild species, and a way for Pacific Northwest Tribes to harvest seafood in their usual and accustomed areas as guaranteed under Federal Treaties.”

Parsons added, “Kurt’s vision was to help other Northwest Tribes see aquaculture as a key to food sovereignty and security—not a threat.”

Parsons quoted from a letter from Jamestown S’Klallam Tribal Chairman/CEO, Ron Allen, who announced that the Tribe has pledged $5,000 toward the foundation in a tribute to Kurt:

“I write on behalf of our Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe and community as we extend our deep appreciation for establishing this scholarship fund honoring Kurt Grinnell. Our community has experienced deep sadness over the loss of a beloved Tribal leader and friend whose spirit was deeply rooted in the aquaculture industry….

“Kurt was a champion of restoring our salmon and shellfish resource to sustainable levels in the Pacific Northwest for the better part of two decades. Kurt realized that for our families to continue to make a living in the fishery community, we needed to explore and venture into the world-wide emerging farming opportunities….

“We acknowledge the cultural sensitivity and respect toward the family, Tribe, and Indian Country. We hold our hands up to the vision and spirit Kurt shared with all who knew him,” the letter concludes.

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