The following is one example of the impact Michigan Sea Grant has had throughout the state, region or beyond.
Visitors to a region are often looking for ways to add value to their experiences. In Great Lakes coastal towns, charter fishing is a popular activity but is often seen as a day trip. Once the charter is complete, many visitors take their cleaned fish and go home. Michigan Sea Grant helped develop a way to link one tourism industry — charter fishing — to several others to both enhance visitor experiences and to keep tourism dollars in the coastal community.
Launched in late May 2012, Michigan Catch & Cook brought together the recreational sport fishing and restaurant industries to provide charter fishing clients the opportunity to enjoy dining on their catch-of-the-day, prepared by a professional chef, only hours after coming off the water. MSG and project partners helped connect charter fishing operations to local restaurants and helped navigate health code regulations to take the idea from concept to reality. A website (http://www.micatchandcook.com) was developed to help the public find participating charter operations as well as restaurants.
Results: From its launch date through the end of charter fishing season:
- The program registered 47 charter boat operators and 29 restaurants, representing 21 different Michigan ports in 17 different coastal counties.
- The website provides site visitors with a one-stop resource to identify participating charter boat operators by name or by geographic location, as well as participating restaurants affiliated with each charter captain.
- Partner agencies engaged in an aggressive public relations campaign from the program’s launch and throughout the season to direct attention to the website.
- The site, maintained by Michigan Sea Grant Extension, experienced over 10,800 unique visits during the season.