Much of our current work to improve the welfare of fish centers around piloting welfare improvements that can then be scaled up (see our Strategy Updates blog post). However, welfare improvements are not the only part of our work we view as experimental:
We view all of our work as a pilot.
Unfortunately, fish welfare suffers from a deficit of knowledge. There is a limited research base and very little precedent for what works when improving fish lives. This means, however, that there is significant information value to be gained.
For instance, the following questions are still very open in the nascent field of fish welfare advocacy:
What are the most promising welfare improvements for fish? Which ones of these are actually possible on a large scale?
How much are certain species affected by adverse conditions compared to others?
What sort of approaches are most effective?
How viable is policy change?
How can we influence public opinion?
What sort of coalitions will be the most effective for advancing change?
We expect and hope that some of our impact results will help the movement for fish as a whole as we report back to others in the field on what works and what doesn’t. Concretely, we will do this through future posts and research pieces, as well as giving talks.
Some activities we have tried or are currently trying, and whose merits we plan to discuss more in the future, include the following: visiting fish farms in various countries, collaborating with certifying organizations, and writing a pro-fish op-ed.
There are also many projects that FWI cannot undertake that we hope to see explored. For example, seeking to change US regulations surrounding the estimated 35-150 billion fish raised and used for restocking. These fish face various welfare challenges, both before and upon release, and we think there is significant information value to be gained (and possibly also positive impact for fish) by influencing regulations. This would admittedly be much more resource-intensive.
As one of the first organizations focused on improving fish welfare, we find ourselves well placed for exploring how to best improve fish lives. As interest in fish welfare continues to grow, we believe this to be an important part of building a broad movement for fish.
If you’re interested in learning more about the startup thinking that influenced our approach, we encourage you to read The Lean Startup.