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:
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.
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.
Aquaculture Program Coordinator, India
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.
Fish Welfare Expert, India
John studied Aquaculture and Life Sciences at the University of Mumbai and worked at the Ornamented Fish Breeding and Culture Unit of the Madras Christian college. He has taken part in a number of conferences and speaking events in Biological Sciences and Fisheries organised by several Indian universities and research institutes. John is very passionate about fishery science and wants to expand his knowledge and research in this ever growing field. Apart from this, he loves singing and music, and was part of a choir.
Research and Project Strategist
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Philippines Specialist Intern
Chiawen is a Research Assistant in reef ecology and fisheries science, and is working towards a PhD in marine environmental management. Before learning about FWI, she assisted in studying the economic value of ecosystem services in the Philippines, and promoting its equitable use in coastal communities. Having volunteered with the Philippine Animal Welfare Society in her undergrad, she saw that fish welfare has great opportunities for development. She hopes to spark a movement for fish welfare and happiness in the Philippines!
Philippines Specialist Intern
Sophia is an undergraduate with a degree in Development Studies. Recently part of Effective Altruism Blue, she aims to immerse herself with high social impact and environment-related work through volunteering and internships that will eventually shape her career. In her free time, she likes to learn more about Philippine culture, drink coffee, and play with her cats.
China Specialist Intern
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.
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.
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.
Tse Yip Fai
Fai is an independent researcher who investigates the impact of emerging technologies on animal welfare. He also advises the Open Philanthropy Project on farmed animal welfare issues. He was previously the China Strategy Consultant for Mercy For Animals, responsible for research and strategy creating for their expansion plans in China and Asia generally. Fai holds degrees in both Chemistry as well as Banking and Finance, and has a special interest in moral philosophy.
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.
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.
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 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 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.
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.