September 2011

Gulf Coast Agricultural and Seafood Co-Op

THE PROJECT

In September 2011, AMCREF Community Capital (AMCREF) provided $8.4 million of NMTC financing to Gulf Coast Agricultural and Seafood Co-Op (GCASC), a non-profit Cooperative (Co-Op) developing and operating a first-of-its-kind green manufacturing facility turning seafood processing waste into highly desirable fertilizer. The innovative plant received LEED Gold certification and incorporates numerous environmentally beneficial features, including being powered by self-generated methane biogas and solar energy. Located in a highly distressed LIC in Bayou LaBatre, Alabama, the Co-Op was formed by 23 local shrimp and crab companies having difficulty disposing of their seafood processing waste after their previous facility was destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. As a result, the Co-Op members were forced to pay increasingly high fees (more than $60,000/month) to dispose of the waste in a landfill more than 50 miles away. This was a huge burden to the Co-Op members, many of whom were already struggling due to the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill. The new facility offers the Co-Op members an alternative by processing the seafood waste locally and turning it into marketable products, including fertilizer. At full capacity, the facility can process more than 10,000 tons of seafood waste annually, creating 2,500 tons of output per year, greatly reducing the processing waste expense and providing an additional revenue stream for the Co-Op members.

COMMUNITY IMPACT

  • Job Creation and Support: The facility will create up to 82 direct FTEs at full capacity and maintained 364 FTEs related to the Co-Op members. Construction created 119 jobs.
  • Environmental Benefits: The facility received LEED Gold certification and incorporates the following: solar and biogas renewable energy, innovative waste water treatment and recycling features, highly efficient equipment, and sustainable and recycled building materials. It redirects up to 10,000 tons of seafood waste from local landfills annually, improves area water quality and reduces local waterway pollution. The facility was designed in harmony with the local environment, allowing wetland restoration as well as educational and bird watching activities.
  • Community Impacts: The local economy and culture are both heavily dependent on the fishing and seafood industries, which were struggling due to the 2010 Gulf Oil Spill, and therefore GCASC provides vital support for the community.
  • Economic Impact: Strongly supported by federal, state and local agencies. The facility serves as a successful example of innovative “green” seafood processing methodologies for other producers in the US.