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Stevens and Couturier join Kurt Grinnell Aquaculture Scholarship Foundation

The Fish Site
by The Fish Site
19 January 2023, at 8:00am

The Kurt Grinnell Aquaculture Scholarship Foundation (KGASF) today announced the appointment of two global aquaculture leaders to its board of directors.

portrait of a man
Wally Stevens

Chair of the Global Seafood Alliance

Joining the leadership group are Wally Stevens, former CEO and current chair of the Global Seafood Alliance (GSA); and Cyr Couturier, chair of the master of science in aquaculture program at Memorial University in St John’s.

Stevens, whose life-long interest in helping train and educate future leaders in the seafood industry, is the founder of the National Fisheries Institute’s Future Leaders Program, now in its 25th year. He also played a key role in the founding of NFI’s Seafood Industry Research Fund (SIRF). He recently retired after serving an 11-year term as one of 29 trustees for the University System of New Hampshire (UNH), where he worked closely with the governor, president of the senate, speaker of the house, and the UNH Chancellor.

During his tenure at GSA and its predecessor organisation, the Global Aquaculture Alliance, Stevens helped develop it into a leader in educating and advocating for responsibly produced and sourced seafood and in providing assurances through certification programs such as Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP). In recognition of his dedication and accomplishments, GSA’s Lifetime Achievement Award is today known as the Wallace R Stevens Lifetime Achievement Award.

Stevens said he welcomes the opportunity to contribute to shaping the careers of tomorrow’s leaders from indigenous communities – either First Nations in Canada or Native Americans in the United States – and helping them embrace aquaculture as a food security and tribal sovereignty issue.

“It is an honour to be appointed to the board of this foundation,” Stevens said, citing one of his favourite quotes from anthropologist Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

Headshot of a man
Cyr Couturier

He is currently chair of the master of science in aquaculture program at Memorial University

Throughout his career, Couturier led several industry and academic organisations, serving as president of the Aquaculture Association of Canada, the Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, and the Newfoundland Aquaculture Industry Association. As a researcher and teacher, Couturier helped shape the careers of many aquaculture research, policy, and production leaders.

Over the past 25 years he contributed to the awarding of more than 50 scholarships, which he sees as excellent preparation for his new role on the KGASF Board.

“I look forward to working with aquaculture leaders in Canada and the USA to raise the profile of the Kurt Grinnell Aquaculture Scholarship Foundation to allow more Indigenous peoples with opportunities to participate in aquaculture in their ancestral lands. It is a great honour to be part of this effort,” he said.

a man carrying a bag of oysters
The late Kurt Grinnell

He was an aquaculture advocate and Native American leader from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Washington State

Established to honour the legacy of the late Kurt Grinnell, a Native American leader from the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe in Washington State who saw aquaculture as a solution to Tribal food security, sovereignty, and economic opportunity, the KGASF provides financial assistance to US Tribal and Canadian First Nations, Métis, and Inuit students who wish to pursue careers in aquaculture and natural resources.

John Dentler, KGASF chair, noted that in 2022, the foundation awarded three aquaculture scholarships, with plans to continue providing at least three awards per year.

To do that, Dentler added, “It is vital that we build a strong financial base and establish an endowment that will allow us to continue the work that Kurt Grinnell set out to do: encourage future leaders in this vital field.”

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In addition to Stevens and Couturier, the current KGASF board includes:

  • Dick Jones, CEO – Blue Ocean Mariculture (Kona, HI)
  • Rick Goetz – NOAA, NW Fisheries Science Center, retired (Bainbridge Island, WA)
  • Jaiden Grinnell Bosick – Commercial fishing industry (Kasilof, Alaska)
  • Jeanne McKnight, executive director – Northwest Aquaculture Alliance (Covington, WA)
  • Jim Parsons, CEO, Jamestown Seafood (Sequim, WA)
  • John Dentler, JD – president emeritus, Northwest Aquaculture Alliance (Gig Harbor, WA)
  • Levana Mastrangelo – First Nations coordinator, Cermaq (Campbell River, BC, Canada)
  • Paul Zajicek, executive director – National Aquaculture Association (Tallahassee, FL)
  • Wally Pereyra, chairman – Arctic Storm Management Group (Seattle, WA)