Fish Welfare Initiative is an organization of people who believe that fish welfare is critical for environmental sustainability, business resiliency, and global health. It's also the right thing for fish.


In 2019, FWI was launched by Charity Entrepreneurship, a charity incubator that provided our first $50,000 in seed funding. Over the next few years, we are building a small and dedicated team that can work with industry and NGO partners to implement higher fish welfare standards and practices.


We aim to improve the lives of billions of fish. Meet our team below:


Karthik Pulugurtha

Director of Country Operations

Karthik has a background in animal welfare and ethical livelihoods. He holds a masters degree in Diplomacy, Law & Business (MA DLB) from the Jindal School of International Affairs. He is a PhD scholar at the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research in India, and previously managed the university’s Animal Law Centre. While there, he took up research that shed light on the unethical practices associated with industrialized egg production in India. He has also worked as a research and livelihoods consultant for sixteen Members of Parliament from the Telugu Despam Party. Karthik is deeply committed to ending animal and human suffering and believes in the efficacy of bottom up approaches to change.   


Jennifer-Justine Kirsch

Research and Project Strategist

Jennifer has her background in terrestrial and marine animal protection, having studied at both University College Freiburg in Germany as well as California State University, Monterey Bay. Curious about the dynamics of our changing planet, Jennifer is interested in how we can create a non-exploitative relationship with nature and other species. She is also the Outreach and Social Media Manager of the German nonprofit organization Unterwasserwelten (“Underwater Worlds”). In her free time, she supports sustainability projects as an Earth Charter Young Leader and loves to surf and swim.

Marco Cerqueira

Fish Welfare Specialist

Marco Cerqueira is a fish welfare enthusiast PhD researcher with a broad portfolio and over a decade of experience in the Fisheries and Aquaculture sphere. He’s built his career on the development of strategies to reduce bycatch, as well as the development of nutritional, physiological, and psychological tools to improve the welfare of fish in captivity. Marco is passionate about transforming both consumers and producers into advocates of fish welfare by reframing fish as sentient beings. When not thinking about popularizing fish welfare, Marco loves to scuba dive and meet new people and cultures.


Tom Billington

Director of Research

Tom has been part of the effective animal advocacy community for four years. While studying Philosophy at Southampton University, he established the Southampton Effective Altruism Society and interned for Charity Entrepreneurship. This led to Tom applying to the Charity Entrepreneurship incubation program, where he met Haven. Tom enjoys playing guitar and hanging out with his dog, Solo.


Haven King-Nobles

Director of Operations

Haven has been involved in animal advocacy and effective altruism for several years, during which time he founded Effective Altruism Oberlin, was president of Oberlin Animal Rights, and was a Research Intern at Mercy For Animals. He graduated from Oberlin College with degrees in computer science and philosophy. Outside of working for better fish welfare, Haven enjoys getting cheap drinks with great people.


Sophia Babb

Communications Consultant

Sophia works part time with Fish Welfare Initiative on all things communications. Sophia started out in the journalism world, writing stories for news outlets such as Bloomberg News in Washington D.C. In 2017, she discovered Effective Altruism and was completely onboard. Now, she tells the stories of high-impact nonprofits and forward-thinking businesses through smart communication strategy. When she’s not busy writing down ideas, she’s probably outdoors rock-climbing, hiking, or playing her guitar.


Nia Personette

Copyediting Intern

Nia is a soon-to-be graduate of the University of Oklahoma and is currently pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Letters and Economics. Drawn to Effective Altruism and animal welfare, she hopes to become acquainted with organizations such as FWI by working towards a common cause through internships and volunteering. Though she has a penchant for grammar, Nia usually chooses to spend her free time rock climbing, playing violin, and making art of all kinds.


Isla Gibson

Research Assistant

Just graduated from Durham University having studied all things Sinology, Isla is currently thinking about the intersection between fish welfare and the Chinese region. Before this, she’s helped NGOs with their digital strategies, translation work, and market research. Away from the laptop, you’ll find her yoga-ing, writing, and thinking about the next cup of coffee. Isla hopes to become fluent in Mandarin and to continue using the Effective Altruist framework to guide her career decisions.


Ethel Wagas

Fish Welfare Scoping Contractor

Ethel is a PhD researcher with a background on coral ecology from The Marine Science Institute, University of the Philippines. She works part time with Fish Welfare Initiative as a scoping researcher in the Philippines. A lover of the ocean, her advocacies revolve around marine conservation and the role of communities in biodiversity preservation. She is also a member of The Filipino Cave Divers, a local NGO advocating for the protection of underwater caves in the country.

Advisory Board


Jonathan Balcombe

Jonathan Balcombe is a biologist with a PhD in ethology, the study of animal behavior. His books include Pleasurable Kingdom, Second Nature, and The Exultant Ark. His latest book, What a Fish Knows, became a New York Times best-seller and has been translated into fifteen languages. In addition to writing books, Jonathan gives public lectures, and does professional editing for aspiring and established authors. His next book, all about flies, will be published later this year by Penguin Press.

Untitled design-13.png

Chris Holbein

Chris Holbein is the Public Policy Director for Farm Animal Protection at the Humane Society of the United States, helping spearhead legislative campaigns across the country. Chris and his teammates work with family farmers, food companies and other stakeholders to promote animal welfare and food safety. He’s been on the front lines of winning legislative campaigns in Michigan, Nebraska, Oregon, Washington, California, West Virginia, and numerous other states. In addition, Chris has been a lead organizer on two successful ballot measures requiring cage-free housing systems for farm animals.


Susanna Lybæk

Susanna is a zoologist (MSc) with a passion for fish welfare, who has worked as scientific adviser at the Norwegian Animal Protection Alliance (Dyrevernalliansen) since 2012. Through research and corporate advocacy, she helps the Atlantic salmon aquaculture industry move towards better fish welfare. Her main focus is on one of the most numerous and overlooked groups of animals: juvenile salmon in intensive production.

profile pic phot perfil.jpg

João Saraiva

João L. Saraiva is a fish ethologist with a special interest in welfare. He teaches Ethology at the University of Algarve in Portugal, leads the Fish Ethology and Welfare Group at CCMAR, and is the president of the FishEthoGroup Association. With a research career studying behaviour and physiology in teleosts, João now focuses on applying science to improve the welfare of farmed fish. He is the author of nearly 30 scientific papers and editor of the book Welfare of Cultured and Experimental Fishes. The FishEthoGroup is responsible for the FishEthoBase as well as the CAREFISH project, which works on creating welfare standards for an international fish farming certification label. João is also an avid surfer and mountain enthusiast and for many years had a career in music and radio.

Karolina Sarek

Karolina is co-founder and Director of Research at Charity Entrepreneurship. She also serves as a Fund Manager at the EA Animal Welfare Fund, a mentor at WANBAM, and a consultant for various EA non-profits. Before Charity Entrepreneurship, she co-founded an organization to improve the impact of non-profits and social enterprises; worked on measurement and evaluation for Charity Science Health and Open Cages; and was a researcher for IBM and the Jagiellonian University (JU). At the age of 22, she became a university teaching fellow, lecturing at JU’s Faculty of Mathematics and Computer Science. She has been volunteering for farm animals since she was 18.

Patrick UNO Portrait.JPG

Patrick Stadler

Patrick contributes to curriculum and communications at Charity Entrepreneurship and mentors its incubatees. He also leads projects towards a more user-centered and innovative public service in Switzerland, including on public health and migration. Patrick is a co-founder and chair of the board of GiveWell-incubated charity, New Incentives. Previously, he was a political advisor for Switzerland’s economic development agency where he participated in the negotiations on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. He also worked on strategic communications in the context of peacebuilding and mediation at the United Nations Department of Political Affairs in New York.