Who we are

A team of professionals

We are a non-profit association bridging the gaps between science and the stakeholders in the aquaculture sector: producers, certifiers, retailers, NGOs, policy makers and consumers. Our goal is to study and improve the welfare of farmed fishes and other aquatic animals by applying ethological scientific knowledge into best practices in fish farming.

The FishEthoGroup is based in Portugal and stems from a collaboration with the Swiss-based NGO fair-fish international and the Center of Marine Sciences (CCMAR) in Faro, Portugal. Fair-fish has been involved in campaigning, research, and consultancy for welfare in fisheries and fish farming since 1997 and currently provides funding (and inspiration) for the association. CCMAR became the institutional host of the research group in October 2018.

We are a dedicated team of professionals fully focused on our objectives. This is us.

João L. Saraiva

João is a fish ethologist with a special interest in welfare. He is currently leading the Fish Ethology and Welfare Group at CCMAR and is the president of the FishEthoGroup Association. With a background on behaviour and communication in teleosts, João now focuses on the application of fundamental science to improve the welfare of farmed fishes. He is the author of many scientific papers and co-editor of a book on welfare of cultured and experimental fishes. Along with his scientific production, João is also part of the team behind FishEthoBase, an open access database on welfare of farmed fish species. He is an invited assistant professor of Ethology at the University of Algarve.

João works also as a consultant for the European Commission and other private stakeholders and is part of the team responsible for the CAREFISH project - establishment of fish welfare requirements in the Friend Of the Sea certification scheme.

LocationFaro, Portugal

Pablo Arechavala-Lopez

Pablo is a multidisciplinary ichthyologist, specialised in fish behaviour, ecology, and welfare of farmed and wild marine fishes. He has studied the behaviour of fishes escaped from farms and their possible effects on the marine environment with a view to improving the sustainability of aquaculture and fisheries.

Today, as part of FishEthoGroup and the Fish Ethology and Welfare Group at CCMAR, he is focused on developing diverse strategies to ensure a more responsible aquaculture activity by investigating and validating behavioural indicators of fish welfare, developing operational tools to monitor fish welfare at farms, assessing the effects of environmental enrichment on farmed fish species or rising welfare management plans at commercial and global scale. Along with his scientific production, he is also part of the team behind FishEthoBase and CAREFISH and participates in fish welfare training, experimentation, and consultancy.

LocationPalma de Mallorca, Spain

Billo Heinzpeter Studer

Born 1947, Billo is a Swiss social psychologist and author living in Monfalcone, Italy. From 1985 till 2001, he directed the Swiss farm animal welfare organisation kagfreiland.ch. Initiated fair-fish.ch in 1997 and directed its Swiss office till 2012 and its fishery project in Senegal from 2004 till 2010. Founder and president of fair-fish international since 2010. Founder of the FishEthoBase.net which he directed from 2013 till 2018. Co-founder and guarantor of the FishEthoGroup. His latest books, published in German in 2020 and in English in 2021, are about the fair-fish story and about fish welfare in aquaculture.

LocationMonfalcone, Italy

Jenny Volstorf

Jenny is part of the team behind FishEthoBase, as co-author and editor-in-chief. A studied psychologist (Chemnitz, Germany) and trained at the Max Planck Institute for Human Development (Berlin, Germany) in her first life, she joined Billo Studer in setting up the FishEthoBase in 2013. Since then, she has invested her time in creating and editing species profiles.

Her aim is to increase welfare of species in captivity by providing knowledge on needs and natural conditions, also if that means to discover that a species is not suitable for farming. Ideally, FishEthoBase will assist in ending overfishing and reduce the number of farmed species to a minimum for which highest welfare standards may be achieved.

LocationBerlin, Germany

María J. Cabrera-Álvarez

María is a biologist with a specialty in fish behaviour and neuroscience. She did a MSc in Animal Behaviour and Neuroscience at Utrecht University (The Netherlands), a PhD in Fish Social Behaviour and Neuroscience at McGill University (Canada), and worked at a Comparative Cognition laboratory at University of Cambridge (UK).

María is interested in the underlying mechanisms of animal cognition and social behaviour and in how we can use this information to improve the life and welfare of farmed fishes. She joined the FishEthoGroup team and the Fish Ethology and Welfare Group at CCMAR in September 2020. She is part of the team behind FishEthoBase, where she is responsible for creating and updating fish profiles. María also collaborates with other team members in behavioural and physiological research on farmed fish species and participates in the organisation of FishEthoGroup events.

LocationFaro, Portugal

Caroline Marques Maia

Caroline is a biologist specialised in animal behavior and welfare. She did a MSc and a PhD in Zoology at Unesp University (Brazil) by investigating choices, preferences, and motivations of fish species. Part of her PhD was developed at Pennsylvania State University (USA).

In 2016, together with Gilson Volpato, Caroline proposed the Preference Index to evaluate animal preference responses, including fishes, in a more reliable way. She also graduated as a specialist in scientific journalism and mantains a blog about animal behaviour and welfare. Living in Brazil, she works as an independent researcher and is interested in fish preference and motivation to access environmental resources and how to use this to improve the welfare of these animals.

Caroline is part of the team behind FishEthoBase since November 2020, creating and updating fish profiles. She also collaborates with other team members on scientific research and dissemination.

LocationSao Paulo state, Brazil

Ana Rita Oliveira

Ana Rita is a marine biologist with a speciality in Food Technology and Aquaculture. She did a MSc in Food Consumption Sciences by Aberta University (Porto, Portugal). Ana Rita worked at CCMAR (Faro, Portugal) on two Investigation Projects focusing on the nutrition, reproduction and genetics of cuttlefish.

She has recently become part of the FishEthoGroup team as a PhD student, working on the positive impact of environmental enrichments on aquaculture fishes’ life quality.

LocationFaro, Portugal

Adrián V. Montalt

As a novel marine scientist, Adrián has taken part in a wide range of fieldwork studies and design of experiments. His career focuses on marine resources, having completed a MSc in Aquaculture at University of Valencia (Spain). In the Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, he studied the life strategy of several fish parasites as well as the physiological impact in their host.

Adrián is passionate about conservation, pathology, and animal welfare. He joined FishEthoGroup in January 2021, collaborating as a postgraduate researcher in the study of the nexus between environmental enrichment and aquaculture fish behaviour.

LocationFaro, Portugal

Cynthia Mogo Kazi

Born and raised in Ivory Coast, Cynthia lived in Chemnitz (Germany) where she has dedicated herself to social and cultural projects while studying English, Sociology, and Psychology.
After moving to Portugal in 2011, she has worked as an administrative assistant in the legal field, while continuing to volunteer for non-profit organisations internationally. Living in different countries raised her awareness of environmental issues, for which she has developed a deep interest.
Cynthia joined FishEthoGroup as an administrative officer in February 2021.

LocationFaro, Portugal

Carlos Lemos

Carlos is a certified accountant with an MSc in Taxation at IPCA (Portugal). He is the fiscal consultant for the FishEthoGroup and a specialist in international fiscal matters. He is a member of the International Fiscal Association and, besides his entrepreneurial career, provides consultancy work for various NGOs and artistic and cultural projects.


Sebastian Scholz

Sebastian is the web designer, programmer, and admin of the FishEthoGroup website.

He studied sociology, applied computer science, and European history in Chemnitz (Germany) and in Växjö (Sweden). As part of the team of the "Fahrradkino Chemnitz" (bicycle cinema), Sebastian tries to show people the value of electric power in an entertaining way. He is also a programmer/developer of driving simulators and a photographer. As a freelancer, he has been taking care of the FishEthoBase and the websites of fair-fish Switzerland & International since 2016.

LocationChemnitz, Germany

Scientific Advisory Board

Three internationally renowned scientists, who are specialists on different areas related to fish welfare research, work as scientific advisors to FishEthoGroup since autumn 2019. Their brief profiles are given below.

Becca Franks

Becca received her PhD in Psychology from Columbia University and completed a Killiam Postdoctoral Research Fellowship with the Animal Welfare Program at The University of British Columbia. She works as an Assistant Professor at New York University, investigating the welfare of fishes and other aquatic animals.


Culum Brown

Culum has a PhD from the University of Queensland and post docs from Cambridge University, which were basically focused on predator recognition and the social behaviour of fishes with a particular emphasis on social learning. Culum is an Associate Professor at Macquarie University in Australia, conducting research on fish behavioural ecology, learning, and memory. He is co-editor of the Journal of Fish Biology,


Lluis Tort

Lluis is a Professor of Physiology at the Universitat Autònoma in Barcelona. Lluis is a specialist in fish physiology and his current research interests are focused on the field of health and welfare of fishes, particularly related to fish stress and immune response. He is responsible for numerous international research projects.


© 2021 FishEthoGroup association