OUR TEAM

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:

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Karthik Pulugurtha

Managing Director, India

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.   

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Aishwarya Nagula

Co-Director, India

Aishwarya has been actively involved in animal advocacy for several years and is extremely passionate about farm animal protection. She has conducted various workshops to educate the community on factory farming. Prior to FWI, she worked towards promoting higher welfare policies for farmed animals among institutions and corporations. She holds a law degree from Alliance School of Law, Bangalore. Aishwarya enjoys cooking, writing and spending time with her dog, Poha.

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Vivek Rachuri

Fish Welfare Expert

Vivek is a proud conservationist and aquaculturist with a background in coastal aquaculture and marine biotechnology. He has previously worked as a biological oceanographer with marine researches in the CSIR- National Institute of Oceanography, India. Being a true conservation enthusiast, Vivek participated in several organizations in Andhra Pradesh such as Fishing Cat Conservancy (FCC) and Hyderabad Tiger Conservation Society (HYTICOS), along with mangrove restoration activities. He has also been an active member of the East Coast Conservation Team (ECCT). In his free time, Vivek is a passionate beatboxer and a skilled photographer with a love for exploring nature and wildlife.

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Chaitanya Akula

Program Coordinator, Nellore Region

Chaitanya joins our team as a rural development professional, with a post-grad in social work. He has worked extensively with farmers in the areas of livelihood promotion, integrated natural resource management, and Zero Budget Natural Farming, as well as having worked in women’s empowerment. Additionally, he previously launched his own e-commerce business. During his free time, Chaitanya loves to explore nature, go for drives, and sharpen his cooking skills.

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Maneesh Narsipuram

Program Coordinator, West Godavari Region

Maneesh is a post-graduate in Environmental Sciences from GITAM Institute of Management. Previous to FWI, he has worked on various research projects in composting, wastewater treatment, and landfill mining soil analysis. He has also attended a number of conferences on wildlife management and environmental sustainability and has completed training on instrumentation from SACON (Coimbatore). In his free time, he loves to play music and dance, for which he has won several awards.

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Anushree Kamath

Corporate Outreach Manager

With a diverse array of experience in real estate, event & artist management, and sustainable waste management, Anushree previously launched her own line of food products under the brand Happy Calf, incubated under one of India’s premier management institutes IIM-B. She has also worked extensively with government, corporate, residential, and educational bodies to create awareness on sustainability and food justice. In her free time, Anushree can be found building student groups to clean up local lakes, playing with cats, and reading books about ancient wisdom.

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Nikhil Reddy Dodda

Data Collector, West Godavari Region

Nikhil is a graduate in Environmental Sciences with a passion to help this planet. He believes that all living beings stand an equal chance on this earth. During his master's he did a project on "Evaluation of physical and mechanical properties of food waste compost pellets." Trained in the collection and analysis of different types of soil, air, and water samples, he is responsible for data collection on farms in the Alliance for Responsible Aquaculture. 

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Meenal Rajapet

Communications Lead

Meenal has been actively seeking ways to help animals since her college years, during which she pursued her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Mass Communication, Psychology, and English Literature. Initially a volunteer at rescued companion animal adoption events, Meenal eventually chose a career in communications and has since been utilizing new and traditional forms of media to create awareness on issues concerning the wellbeing of animals. She holds a P.G. Diploma in Animal Protection Laws from the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research in India. Outside of work Meenal enjoys swimming, learning Carnatic Music, playing her ukelele, and spending time with her dog and two cats.

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Harshit Aggarwal

Operations Associate

Harshit has been involved in the Effective Altruism movement for several years and finds joy in understanding systems and making them more efficient. He has been an active member of EA Delhi since its inception and plans to actively contribute to growing the Effective Altruism movement in India. Outside of FWI, he can be found devouring pani puris at his favorite chaat store or cleaning his fine collection of action figures and fountain pens.

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Jennifer-Justine Kirsch

Director of International Programs

Jennifer studied environmental sciences and marine conservation at the University College Freiburg, Germany and the California State University, Monterey Bay. Before joining FWI, Jennifer conducted fieldwork to conserve cetaceans and seals in the US, and small mammals in the German Black Forest. Her passion for conservation ultimately turned into exploring the intersection between animal advocacy and environmental protection. Within the Effective Altruism community, Jennifer also engages in Effective Environmentalism, a group for climate action. In her free time, Jennifer loves to surf and swim.

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Marco Cerqueira

Fish Welfare Specialist Consultant

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.

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Tom Billington

Director of Impact and Evaluation

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.

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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.

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Lu Chen

China Specialist

Lu seeks to identify the most effective ways to improve the welfare of farmed fish in China. She is currently finishing her Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology focused on fishermen’s religious traditions and communities. As a student of culture, she is keen to understand what kind of changes in beliefs and practices could lead to large welfare improvements.
In her free time, she enjoys forest hiking, lake swimming, and documentaries.

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Chiawen Chiang

Project Manager, Philippines

Prior to joining FWI, Chiaw was a marine biologist and conservationist. After volunteering and interning at FWI International, she decided to switch from a career in the hard sciences to a more interdisciplinary approach to animal protection. Today, she leads a team to research, test, and scale interventions that raise aquaculture standards for farmed fish welfare in-country. She spends her free time on the beach, freediving and watching fish in the wild.

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Alex Basaca

Aquaculture Technician, Philippines

Alex is a graduate of Fishery Technology, Inland Fisheries, with a major in Aquaculture Technology at Cebu Technological University, formerly Cebu State College of Science and Technology - College of Fisheries Technology in Carmen, Cebu Campus, Philippines. He has 20 years of experience on the culture of milkfish and other high value fin fishes both in pond and marine cages.
Prior to joining the organization, Alex was a consultant for various farms in the aquaculture industry. He is happy to help farmers improve fish welfare.

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Ezra Sumampong

Aquaculture Technician Assistant, Philippines

Ezra joined FWI to streamline communication between the organization and local stakeholders in the Philippines.  She aids in disseminating valuable information on the proper implementation of standard practices for the welfare of fishes; and instills the organization's mission to the local's understanding and mindset. Being a fish farmer herself allows her to reach out and provide support to co-farmers with ease. She has been instrumental in the success of our most recent seminar and will dynamically continue to work on facilitating meaningful activities to help channel the advocacy while extending assistance to the farmers.

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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.

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Rhiddhi Patel

Legal Intern

Rhiddhi has a degree in Law from the University of Pune, along with past corporate experience. Guided by her interest in animal protection, she changed careers and wrote for Vegan First Daily and Veg Planet Magazine. She later received a Post-Graduate Diploma in Animal Protection Laws from the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research, India and holds a certification in "Wildlife Conservation and Management" from the College of Forestry, Akola. Currently, she is also part of a group of pro-bono lawyers for WCS, India's Counter Wildlife Trafficking Program. Outside of work she likes to explore nature, watch movies and documentaries, go for drives, and read.

Advisory Board

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Jayasimha Nuggehalli

Jayasimha is a former fellow at Harvard Law School, Founding Director of the Animal Law Centre at NALSAR School University of Law, Hyderabad, and Member of the Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI). He co-founded Global Food Partners where he conceptualises, plans, and implements key initiatives to promote higher welfare production systems in the food sector. He also spearheads the development of innovative traceability and supply chain solutions for animal-sourced protein. Jayasimha has worked closely with industry, farmers, ministries, and governments throughout Asia.

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Lynne Sneddon

Lynne is a PhD researcher who has studied aquatic animal welfare since 1999. Lynne published the first identification of nociceptors in rainbow trout in 2002, proving that fish experience pain. Since then Lynne's group has addressed questions in fish welfare by using an integrative approach. She uses the findings of her research to drive the agenda for improvements in the use of fishes across a range of contexts. Lynne has co-authored several reports for scientific, governmental, and welfare organizations as well as having regularly engaged with the public. She has been a member and chair of learned society's councils, ethics committees, and grant panels and held editorial roles for a number of journals. Lynne has recently moved to the University of Gothenburg in Sweden.

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Tse Yip Fai

Tse Yip Fai holds a degree in Chemistry from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, and one in Banking and Finance from the University of London. He is a 2021 Foresight Fellow in Animal Ethics For Artificial Intelligence. He was previously the China Strategy Consultant for Mercy For Animals, responsible for research and strategy for their expansion plans in China and Asia. Currently the Research Assistant for Prof. Peter Singer at Princeton University, Fai is researching the impact and ethics of artificial intelligence on nonhuman animals. He has advised the Open Philanthropy Project and international and Chinese organizations on farmed fish welfare.

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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.

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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.

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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 behavior 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.

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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.

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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.

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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 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.