HELP IMPROVE THE LIVES OF BILLIONS OF FISH
We work to change the world for fish by identifying high-impact welfare improvements, and then implementing them through institutional commitments and local farmer support--with the ultimate goal of improving the lives of billions of fish. Your support is a fundamental part of achieving that impact.
To learn more, see our FAQ.
HOW TO DONATE
For donations of $1,000 or more, or to make a tax-deductible donation in the UK or the Netherlands, see below.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is your current fundraising goal?
As of May, we have filled our budget for 2021 (thank you to all who donated!). Current additional donations will support our work in 2022.
What will you do with this money?
Additional funding right now will primarily go towards supporting our work in 2022 to transition the supply and demand in India to higher welfare farmed fish. You can see an example of this work in our Alliance for Responsible Aquaculture, and learn more in our Theory of Change and 2021 plan.
How cost-effective is a donation to Fish Welfare Initiative?
One way of estimating FWI’s rough cost-effectiveness is to divide the total number of fish we expect to help through our commitments (~9 million) by the amount of money we expect to have needed in total for its procurement and implementation (we’ll roughly estimate that at $566,000, which is the sum of the money we spent to get FWI to the commitment [$166,000] and $100,000 a year for the next five years to implement). This calculation results in 15 fish helped per dollar. You can see the welfare improvements we are making here, although at this stage we, unfortunately, do not think it makes sense to estimate the magnitude of the impact on a per fish basis.
This estimate is of course imperfect, and the true figure could be significantly higher or lower. However, we expect that the rough order of magnitude is correct, and we further expect that our cost-effectiveness will increase as we increase our efficiency.
In sum, there’s some preliminary evidence to show that FWI’s work is very cost effective, although this evidence is very tentative. We hope to gain more evidence as we progress.
Why would producers want to transition over to higher welfare practices?
FWI's approach is based on mutual collaboration and benefit: Although we have commitments from several local organizations to transition the farms they influence to higher welfare practices, a large-scale transition will be impossible if farmers do not see their businesses benefit from the practices. We have been pleased with the level that animal welfare and sustainability can compel certain farmers, policymakers, and community leaders, but unfortunately these arguments are not sufficiently compelling for the majority of those we collaborate with. So why would farmers want to implement fish welfare practices?
Broadly, the answer is because the practices we are recommending (improved water quality and stocking density caps) have some benefit for farmers: Farmers understand better than anyone that improved water quality leads to fewer diseases and lower mortality rates, as exemplified by the fact that some currently pay for (irregular) water quality testing. We believe that stocking density reductions lead to a more stable operation for farmers: fewer fish, feed, and antimicrobials are needed (lowering expenses), less labor is needed, and farms are less likely to experience catastrophic disease outbreaks and die-offs, thus mitigating two issues that currently plague Indian aquaculture.
But if these practices are already in the farmers' interest (as we believe), why would they not have already implemented them? We believe this is largely due to a lack of education in how to implement them. Specifically, Indian aquaculturists often lack reliable information in improving water quality, and get much of their information from product salesman with dubious motivations. Lack of perceived benefit to justify the implementation costs is another issue we believe that prevents farmers from already implementing higher welfare practices--we hope our work will demonstrate these benefits.
We are also working to establish market linkages that will allow farmers to sell higher-welfare fish at a premium.
Improve the lives of billions of fish? Is that even possible?
We dream big, but yes, we certainly think so. This is partly a testament to the vast scope of aquaculture: smaller farms hold thousands of fish, while the largest ones hold over a million. Therefore, with fish, even working at just the farm level means that you can impact the lives of a massive number of individuals. Going further, partnering with institutions such as corporations and NGOs allows us to impact a massive number of farms, each with thousands or more fish (analogously, see the impact of cage-free corporate advocacy for chickens). Over the course of years, this upstream approach is how we aim to improve the lives of billions of fish.
Is FWI a registered charity?
Yes, we have registered organizations in both the US and India.
In the US, Fish Welfare Initiative is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization (#85-2065536). Your donation is tax-deductible in the US to the extent allowable by law.
In India, Fish Welfare Initiative Foundation India is registered under Section 8 of the Companies Act. Your donation in India is unfortunately not yet tax-deductible.
What are the best arguments against donating to FWI?
You made it this far, so we’re assuming you already believe that fish have significant moral value (if not, see Brown 2014). Putting this objection aside, we think one of the strongest arguments against our work is the experimental nature of it: very few organizations have worked on fish welfare previously, and hardly any in India. There is little precedent for our work, especially compared to something like cage-free campaigns for chickens. Additionally, the base rate of failure with startups is high, and our leadership team has relatively less experience than most of our peer organizations. Although we aim to reliably demonstrate our impact in the future, at the moment we still believe that FWI should best be thought of as a higher-risk, higher-reward donation opportunity.
We believe that our recent commitments, which promise to impact several million fishes, are the most promising evidence yet in favor of our impact. However, although we have the formal commitment the implementation is only just beginning, and will no doubt bring many more difficulties.
One of our key difficulties right now is scaling up: We have good relationships in local communities and are confident we can help a handful of farms transition to higher welfare practices, but transitioning a sufficient number to gain cost-effectiveness is more difficult. We are working to create market (e.g. price premium) and policy incentives to enable this scaleup.
If you're curious to learn more about the challenges in our work, contact us.
I would like to make a tax-deductible donation in a country that is not the US. How do I do that?
Currently, donations to Fish Welfare Initiative may only be tax-deductible in the US, UK, and Netherlands. For your donation to be tax-deductible in the UK or Netherlands, you will need to donate through the Effective Altruism Funds.
I’m interested in making a donation of $1,000 or more to FWI. What should I do?
You should reach out to us so that we can ensure that FWI is a good organizational fit for you and that if so, you make your donation via the most efficient avenue.
I would like to mail in a check. How should I do that?
Checks should be mailed to the following address:
Fish Welfare Initiative Attn: Nick Hollman, Trustee
5760 Bittersweet Pl.
Madison, Wisconsin 53705
Which other organizations should I support?
Our team members are proud to support the work of ACE-recommended and GiveWell-recommended organizations, and we encourage you to do the same. We believe in the impact of these organizations and aim to replicate their successes.
I have another question not discussed here, or would like more information.
Then you should contact us.