It is a little past 9:00am when the Tulcea seafront began to attract the early-rising visitors. The end of summer found us exactly where we had been for the past 6 years, close to the people from Tulcea and our friends from Asociația Mila 23 Ivan Patzaichin, at RowmaniaFest 2017.
At this year’s edition of the fest we prepared plenty of surprises not only for the participants, but also for the numerous visitors that came to experience the spirit of the rowing competition. The expectation was the 7th year of the festival to turn into the most successful one so far and we were not left disappointed. Every year the festival becomes reality and continues to attract participants during the first weekend of September, thanks to the consistency and dedication of the organisers who look after the practicalities on the day and make the people from Tulcea more and more interested in environment, food, health and sustainability based topics.
From the morning of the first day, children of all ages had the chance to get to know more about the sturgeon species that are currently living in the Danube, such as Beluga Sturgeon, Stellate Sturgeon, Sterlet and Russian Sturgeon, as well as those that had not been seen in the Danube for over 40 years – Ship Sturgeon and European Sturgeon. That was followed up by an arty-crafty activity where each of the kids received a t-shirt and textile marker pens to customize it based on their vision on the endangered fish species in the Danube river. Parents and the rest of the visitors were not left out from the fun activities – for them the organisers had an instant photo booth where photos were printed as magnets for everyone to take a little something that reminds them of the time spent at the fest in Tulcea.
For WWF the location of the fest is of particular importance as it gave us the perfect opportunity to remind locals and the town’s guests of how crucial it is to continue protecting sturgeons in the Danube river and even most importantly – to raise awareness of the different sources of sturgeon products. People were advised that they always check the quality of the fish in terms of its origin to ensure it comes from clean waters and healthy environment and if it is fair trade, meaning that the rights of local fishermen are protected. Furthermore, when purchasing sturgeon caviar checking the contents information and the actual quality is highly recommended due to the increasing number of cases of counterfeit products made of algae and roe of another fish and not of sturgeon. Those are only a small part of the activities that fall under the “LIFE for Danube Sturgeons” project run by WWF with focus on saving the flagship fish of the Danube.
We, from the sturgeon team of the WWF panda family, spent two beautiful days with the people from Tulcea where we met new people and were able to strengthen our bond with those who we already know. Now, it is time to reminisce on own our experiences, all of them inspirational and very stimulating for the work we do in the region and to come up with new ideas for our next year’s participation that undoubtedly will bring us even greater pleasure.