I am Rik Bomer, and this is my story. Half a year ago, I finished my education and had developed an interest towards global sustainability. I find it amazing how people find solutions for all kinds of problems and create and integrated concept to benefit mankind and let nature thrive in the process. I want to learn more about sustainability and share my new-found knowledge with the world.
Triggered by this drive to do more with sustainability, I thought to myself: "why don't I visit the professionals that make these wonderful solutions happen. "Of course, coming from a sustainable background, I was tinkering with the idea: "how can I do this as environmentally friendly as possible. "Thoughts, like walking, driving by car or camper and going by train came to mind, but on top of the list was to go by bike! I had never done something like a bike vacation or something similar. So, I had to do my research.
After a while I found a guy on-line that hated cycling and was currently doing a cycling trip from Mexico to Canada. So, if a man that hates cycling could do a trip like that, then I could do the same. After all I am also not the biggest fan of cycling!
So, I bought a bike and some supplies and did a few practices runs. The first one was a 900 kilometre trip that ended after just 300kilometre, thanks to a complete and utterly destroyed tyre, and my trip became a hiking endeavour. The next trip, starting in November, I was much more prepared and full of confidence to have a better run than before. Yet, I had not experience the bitter cold mornings that comes with this month.
While shivering on one of those mornings, I was thinking about calling it quits and just start again in April next year. During this epiphany I noticed by chance, like a get out of jail card in monopoly, that the World Fish Migration Foundation was searching for volunteers. In the middle of nowhere somewhere in a barn, I gave them a call and told them my ambitions. After a brief change of words, I was invited and asked if I want to do my bike trip under the umbrella of the World Fish Migration Foundation. Promises of meeting great sustainable professionals has "baited" me in and now I am a proud member of the foundation. Now I am ready to make this trip a success. Starting in Spain! Hopefully with a lot of warm mornings.
The ambition is to visit as much people as possible. People that inspire change in their river communities by creating better fish migration possibilities. What I noticed in my preparations, is that there are a lot of people involved in making fish happy, for different reasons but all share the common goals to have a healthy fish population. Removing the barriers that fish face to let them take the swim way, like nature intended. Establishing a flourishing ecosystem once again. These are the people, change makers, from who we want stories. Stories that inspire and show the positive side of environmental development for all to see and learn. Piquing the interest of the public, for example: students and their teachers, commercial and recreational anglers to influence, resource and river managers, policy makers and decisions takers.
Happy Fish is the first big step to symbolise the initiatives from all over the globe that wished to enable free passage for migratory fish. A symbol that signifies that migratory fish must move freely between their natural spawning, growth and habitat areas. The 'big smile' symbolises happy fish populations that thrive and increase. Because we want to gather positive stories during this bicycle tour, we are calling it, "Happy Fish Journey."
A Happy Fish Journey starts in Yecla de Yeltes, Spain and celebrate the removal of the dam in the nearby Huerba river. After a month or so, I will hop over to France, cycle up north to celebrate the removal of the Vezins dam and 'La Roche qui boit' dam in the Selune River. I continue my journey by taking the undersea tunnel to the UK, where I will meet some interesting professionals, following by taking the ferry to Belgium, visiting Brussel to talk to the policy makers there. I will end my journey in the Netherlands where I will cycle to my last destination: the Afsluitdijk, the birthplace of Happy Fish and where the fish migration river is in the making. This journey takes at least 3.000kilometre.
During this journey I will,
take 200 pictures with the theme: Happy Fish, Dam Removal Europe and/or AMBER
create publicity in local and national newspapers about fish migration
use Happy Fish as a worldwide symbol to celebrate the change makers and create a social media hype with storytelling
cycle 3000km and have the option to cycle 2000km more for river mapping AMBER.
Please, ask yourself, who are the changemakers in your network and how can their story be told? Tell me and together we can make A Happy Fish Journey a great success, because my solo trip through Europe is truly a combined effort.
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Or get in contact by e-mailing me at Rik@fishmigration.org
I am Rik Bomer and thank you for reading!