Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trails Conference: Netting your audience

Conference to share practical ideas to increase tourism through fisheries heritage exhibits and experiences.

You are invited to join and participate in the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trails Conference on November 2-3 in Alpena, Mich. A great opportunity to make new connections, gain information, resources, and new ideas about how fisheries heritage can help promote education and tourism opportunities in our communities. The Besser Museum in partnership with NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Michigan Sea GrantMichigan State University Extension, and partners of the Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage network are host to this 2016 annual conference that celebrates fisheries heritage. 

A networking opportunity, this conference brings together museums, resource experts and community partners to connect with Great Lakes fisheries and maritime heritage, communities and coastal tourism. Conference theme of "Netting your Audience" explores how fisheries heritage exhibits and events can better connect with community, educational and tourism audiences in sharing Great Lakes fisheries heritage experiences.

A conference highlight includes a whitefish lunch and exhibit tours at the Besser Museum, home to a growing fisheries heritage exhibit. The Besser Museum recently received the retired Lake Huron fisheries research vessel R/V Chinook from Michigan Department of Natural Resources. Lake Huron fisheries research stories reflected in this vessel will serve at the center of a future Great Lakes science heritage exhibit -- and will complement the Museum’s Katherine V commercial fishing vessel and exhibits promoting commercial and sport-fishing on Lake Huron. Learn about Besser Museum’s efforts make educational and tourism connections with Lake Huron’s commercial fishing and sport-fishing’s storied past – as well as that of the science and management organizations that work to protect these fisheries.  

The conference offers opportunities to learn more about Michigan’s Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Consortium projects and partnerships, including collaboration among this growing statewide fisheries heritage tourism trail network. Our Great Lakes fisheries (past, present, and future) can benefit local museum programs, promote Great Lakes literacy, enhance coastal tourism development opportunities, foster educational connections, and support community development efforts.

This two-day conference will offer:

  • Conference kick-off and networking reception begins at 1 p.m. Nov. 2, 2016, with a picnic luncheon (provided) and guided tours of Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan’s fisheries heritage educational exhibits and vessels – the commercial vessel Katherine V and recently retired Lake Huron research vessel R/V Chinook.
  • Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Consortium business meeting (open to all interested) will be held at 4 p.m. Nov. 2, 2016, at the Besser Museum. Attend and learn more about the planning and projects of this statewide network of organizations collaborating with a common interest in protecting and promoting our Great Lakes fisheries heritage.
  • Conference educational sessions begin 9 a.m. Nov. 3, 2016, at the NOAA Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. Join in the conversation and share ideas and experiences toward innovative educational strategies for bringing fisheries heritage stories to life – within museums, among communities, and across a Great Lakes Fisheries Heritage Trail. Review a detailed agenda online to learn more about educational topics and contributing speakers.

Learn more and register online today

Visit the conference website to register online. This educational program is open to all those interested in promoting maritime heritage tourism and Great Lakes stewardship. To save your seat, please register by Oct. 27.Image of Fishery Heritage Trail historical sign

Registration is $30 ($10 for students) and includes picnic lunch and guided tours at Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan on Nov. 2 and participation in educational conference sessions with lunch on Nov. 3 There is no cost to attend the Consortium business meeting on Nov. 2. 

For additional information about this educational program contact Brandon Schroeder, Michigan Sea Grant Extension (, 989-354-9885).

Michigan Sea Grant helps to foster economic growth and protect Michigan’s coastal, Great Lakes resources through education, research and outreach. A collaborative effort of the University of Michigan and Michigan State University and its MSU Extension, Michigan Sea Grant is part of the NOAA-National Sea Grant network of 33 university-based programs.

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