NWAA names new executive committee, launches Kurt Grinnell memorial scholarship

Published on
August 30, 2021
Jamestown Seafood CEO Jim Parsons.

The Northwest Aquaculture Alliance, a trade group advocating for the aquaculture industry in the U.S. and Canadian Pacific Northwest, has announced new officers and the creation of a scholarship in memory of its former board member Kurt Grinnell.

Jim Parsons, who formerly served as general manager of Cooke Aquaculture Pacific before being named CEO of Jamestown Seafood earlier this month, will remain in his role as NWAA president. Troutlodge General Manager Keith Drynan has been elected vice president, Cargill Aqua Nutrition Commercial Manager Carrington Gorman has been appointed NWAA’s secretary, and Blue Ocean Mariculture CEO Dick Jones has been elected the organization’s treasurer.

“We are pleased that the board of directors has approved our organization’s new leadership team,” NWAA Executive Director Jeanne McKnight said in a press release. “Aquaculture needs strong leaders and dedicated champions from every sector, and we are pleased to have such strong advocates in our organization.  NWAA is committed to ramping up its aquaculture advocacy role, not just in our region but also nationally.”

The NWAA also announced the creation of a scholarship in memory of Kurt Grinnell, the former CEO of Jamestown Seafood, who died in a car accident in April 2021 while returning home from an NWAA board meeting. The Kurt Grinnell Aquaculture Scholarship Foundation, which will provide financial assistance for any enrolled member of a United States-recognized tribe pursuing formal studies in aquaculture or aquaculture technology.

“Kurt embodied the belief of his culture that it is important to plan seven generations ahead,” Parsons said in a release. “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.” 

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe Chairman W. Ron Allen credited Grinnell with the recently established partnership between the tribe and Cooke Aquaculture, SalishFish, that aims to stock an ocean fish farm in Port Angeles Harbor, Washington, U.S.A. with native steelhead.

“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,” Allen said. “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.”

Photo courtesy of Jim Parsons/LinkedIn

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