Washington state's Kurt Grinnell, a Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe council member for 16-plus years, died in a single-vehicle wreck Tuesday, April 20, on Mount Pleasant Road in Port Angeles.
Grinnell, 57, a Port Angeles resident, was the tribe’s aquaculture manager and served on the tribe’s hunting and fishing committee for 33 years after being elected to the council in October 2004, reported the local news site Sequim Gazette.
Grinnell was also CEO of Jamestown Seafood, which opened in 2016 and harvests oysters and geoduck and produces oyster seed for commercial sale.
He had previously worked on projects with Canadian salmon giant Cooke that included a joint venture with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe to produce sterile all-female native steelhead trout at a defunct Cooke salmon pen.
Although that venture did not work out, Grinnell told IntraFish last year the tribe was working to produce aquaculture in sustainable ways, such as farming kelp around its oyster and geoduck sites to offset ammonia.
Grinnell was also involved with the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe's work with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA’s) Northwest Fisheries Science Center, Manchester Research Laboratory and the University of Washington on black cod aquaculture research.
As part of his commitment to the development of aquaculture in our Northwest region, in April 2019, he joined the the board of directors of the Northwest Aquaculture Alliance (NWAA).
"His leadership on behalf of the Jamestown Tribe and within NWAA became clear early on, and the Board unanimously elected him Vice President in early 2020, and he was on track to assume the Presidency by 2022," said Jim Parson, NWAA's current president.
"In the spirit of looking seven generations ahead, Kurt became a passionate advocate of aquaculture—both finfish and shellfish—as he witnessed the decline of native species, largely through upland development and loss of habitat. He was a storyteller, who could bring alive the stories about ancestral life, including the importance of aquaculture, which was part of the Salish people since at least 1400 A.D."