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Collaboration between Fish Welfare Initiative and Aquatic Life Institute

Updated: Jun 9, 2020

This blog post is a summary of a post we wrote on the Effective Altruism Forum.

Written by William Bench, Tom Billington, Haven King-Nobles, & Rocky Schwartz

Likely over 100 billion fish are farmed globally each year. Several trillion more fish are caught from the wild annually. These numbers are staggering and represent the enormous scale of suffering that these industries produce.

Recently, two EA-aligned organizations have been created with the sole focus of improving the lives of aquatic species: The Aquatic Life Institute (ALI) and Fish Welfare Initiative (FWI).

We (both The Aquatic Life Institute and Fish Welfare Initiative) believe that the suffering of fish presents a massively overlooked and important area for effective altruism. Thus, we believe that the two organizations and their respective approaches are complementary – where FWI takes a “bottom-up” approach, working with producers at a micro level and then scaling to macro level interventions, ALI takes a “top-down” approach, lobbying decision-makers as a means of impacting producers.

Recognizing that approximately 543 species of aquatic animals are farmed and these species have dramatically different welfare considerations, both organizations seek to increase species-specific research in order to reduce suffering on fish farms. The Aquatic Life Institute achieves this through pushing better welfare to leverage groups in highly-tractable countries (such as certification groups in Europe and North America). Fish Welfare Initiative achieves this through building interest for welfare at the producer level in high-scale and highly-neglected countries (e.g. India).

We believe there is ample room for two complementary organizations in this space, and we in fact hope to see many more organizations coordinating into a fish welfare movement (similar to the collaborative work seen for chickens in the last years, see the Open Wing Alliance). In the months ahead, you can expect to see continued collaboration between ALI and FWI. The two organizations are in regular communication and actively working to share resources where needed.

Stay tuned for public events and educational opportunities from both organizations going forward!

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