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.
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.
Farmer Programs Manager
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.
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.
Nikhil Reddy Dodda
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.
Ronanki Sai Gandhi
Gandhi has a background in Environmental Science and experience working with non-profits. He is passionate about nature conservation and has been made it the foundation upon which he's building his career. During his graduate and post-graduate years, he worked on various projects related to water quality analysis with GVMC Visakhapatnam. Gandhi is also passionate about helping wildlife and has participated in numerous conservation efforts in and around Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
Nagaraju is a humanitarian and environmentalist who is committed to a contributing to a sustainable future. His interests lay in improving the social, economic and environmental well-being of the community. In the past, he worked on various projects related to sustainable integrated farming systems, women entrepreneurship, child and women development, natural resources management and livelihoods enhancement, social and environmental management plan, and WASH. Nagaraju is deeply interested in the protection of indigenous animals. His interest in animal protection led him to join FWI where he strives to help fishes as well as farmers.
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.
Policy Consultant Contractor
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.
A native of Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh, Ratish completed his MBA from Nagarjuna University in 2013. He has over a decades' experience in sales and marketing in the Tiles and Sanitary Industry in Vijayawada. As an avid travel enthusiast who loves spending time in nature, Ratish was drawn to FWI's work after learning about its commitment to improve the lives of fish. He's a hardworking individual who ensures that everyone's work at FWI runs smoothly. In his free time, one can find him grooving to Maestro Illayaraja's classics and spending time with his family and friends.
Upasana is a molecular biologist-turned-science communicator with a background in ecology and conservation. She holds a master's degree in Science Writing from Johns Hopkins University and loves talking to animals in Telugu. She believes in democracy, freedom for non-human animals, and the power of semicolons.
Corporate Outreach Manager
Subrata worked for 11 years at a leading agro-industrial and food conglomerate before making the switch to animal protection work. He brings with him extensive experience in the different sectors of integrated aquaculture business, for both fish and shrimp. He specializes in bringing solutions to multiple stakeholders across the aquaculture supply chain. Outside work, Subrata loves meeting new people, reading comics, watching movies, and exploring new waters.
Ravi Teja Sangeetha
Teja is a Kathak dancer and researcher who studied the welfare of egg-laying hens at The Animal Law Centre at NALSAR University of Law, Hyderabad. He holds a Master's in Sociology from University of Hyderabad and helps the standard-setting team strategize farmer engagement in Andhra Pradesh. He loves post-rock music, doing yoga on random rooftops, saying pss pss pss to street cats, and traveling.
Nagaraju works in the Sreeparru area of Eluru as a data collector. He engages with farmers and collects vital data on farming practices. He is passionate about animal equality and believes that all animals must be able to live freely and without pain.
Vankaiah, affectionately called ‘Chandu’, is a social development professional and social mobiliser with experience working for several not-for-profit organizations. He has previously worked for child welfare and the upliftment of marginalized communities, including families affected by poverty. In his free time, he enjoys playing cricket and listening to beautiful Telugu film songs.
Abhishek is a public policy and development professional committed to enhancing the policy landscape of India. He has worked with several state governments in the livelihoods, entrepreneurship, education, public health, and WASH sectors, adopting gender-inclusive and intersectional approaches. He was involved in instituting India's first state-level Behavioural Insights Unit for resolving complex policy problems using behavioral science. In his free time, he enjoys watching movies, listening to podcasts, and catching up with friends.
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.
Cofounder, Director of Impact and Evaluation, FWI US Board Member
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.
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.
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.
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. She led our Philippines 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.
Cofounder, Executive Director, FWI US Board Member
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.
FWI US Board Member
Nick holds a bachelor's degree in cognitive science from the University of Michigan, where he co-ran the Effective Altruism student org. In recent years, Nick has worked for various non-profits and political campaigns.
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.
Gauri Maulekhi is a leading animal welfare advocate in India with over two decades of experience working with government agencies. She serves as a resource person and trainer, sensitizing law enforcement agencies to animal protection. Through her work, Gauri has catalyzed systemic change via judicial intervention and public policy led-advocacy with central & state governments. She serves as the Trustee of India’s largest animal welfare organization, People For Animals, and is the recipient of India’s highest civilian award for women: the prestigious Nari Shakti Puraskar, bestowed by the President of India in 2018. Ms. Maulekhi anchors the Ahimsa Fellowship, the only animal welfare advocacy fellowship in India focused on farm animal welfare.
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
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.
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 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.
Karolina Sarek (also FWI US Board Member)
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 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.