Aquaculture North America

Aquaculture America 2024: Western science blended with Tribal values is key, said Jamestown tribe leader

February 19, 2024
By Jean Ko Din

Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe vice-chair Loni Grinnell-Greninger at Aquaculture America 2024 (Photo: Jean Ko Din, Aquaculture North America)

Open conversations are the key to blending Indigenous values with Western innovation, said Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe vice-chair Loni Grinnell-Greninger.

Grinnell-Greninger offered comment at Aquaculture America 2024 (Feb. 18) on ongoing tensions about the future of aquaculture in Washington State. Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe is looking to move forward with a joint venture with Cooke Aquaculture Pacific to rear native steelhead trout, despite a commissioner order that looked to ban netpen aquaculture in Washington state waters.

Last October, a Thurston County judge ruled that Washington’s net pen ban has “no legal effect.”

“We want to keep inviting (Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Hilary Franz)  back to the table and we want her to invite us back to the table,” said Grinnell-Greninger. “I still have other things that I need Hillary’s partnership on, so I have to be very strategic and very careful… We’re all human beings. We all have thoughts, feelings, beliefs, emotions, I have to remain respectful of that.”

During her plenary talks, Grinnell-Greninger emphasized the importance of continuing to engage government leaders and other partners to understand the Indigenous’ connection to its aquaculture traditions. She said aquaculture is an intimate relationship between Native Peoples and their brothers and sisters in Creation. This sacred duty to the environment has not changed and as new tools and new methods of fish farming evolve, Grinnell-Greninger said, they look to Western partners who understand these values and not overshadow them.

“For me, it keeps me focused on why we’re in business… and that hopefully, we’re leaving a legacy that others can build on generations from now,” said Jim Parsons, chief executive of Jamestown Seafood.

“We have a value system where we say you have to come back to the table no matter what,” said Grinnell-Greninger. “We’ve had those candid conversations with politicians, we’ve had those kinds of candid conversations with our contract partners.”


Print this page