This report documents my work as Program Coordinator for the Gulf Coast Marine Life Center (GCMLC) in Destin, FL. The GCMLC is a start-up venture focusing on sustainable aquaculture to meet the restoration needs of the Gulf of Mexico, as well as jump starting the United States domestic aquaculture industry to meet future seafood demands. As the only full-time employee thus far of GCMLC, my responsibilities encompass many aspects of a start-up organization. Initially the center’s focus was on the development of two major grant proposals. The proposals required the inclusion of a basic business plan, including a budget proposal that included capital costs, operating costs, and production costs. It was essential throughout the process to coordinate meetings with the architects, engineers, and university partners to draw up site plans, develop waste management plans, and ensure that the layout, equipment, plumbing, etc. would be in accordance with the planning phases. It was essential to coordinate with different government departments and agencies to acquire the necessary permitting for the Center’s aquaculture operations. Another major responsibility is within the realm of communications such as public relations, networking, and marketing. The GCMLC routinely meets with different universities to forge partnerships or further solidify existing partnerships while formulating the next steps in the development process. Participation in county meetings is also vital in gaining support for the GCMLC. These meetings encompass county, state, and regional levels. Lastly, the GCMLC participates in Sea Grant extension meetings to inform others on the center’s goals and initiatives, as well as to forge partnerships with regional restoration experts. Many of those meetings also provide a wealth of information that is later incorporated into the planning. A substantial part of the GCMLC’s marketing efforts is the development ofa user-friendly working website providing a wealth of information on our project, links to partner universities, pictures and videos. On the social media front a Twitter account and Facebook account were created, as well as Vimeo and YouTube for video sharing.
Pelaez, Melissa C., "Gulf Coast Marine Life Center: advancing sustainable aquaculture in the U.S." (2013). Internship Reports (Restricted). 202.
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