About the charity

The Freshwater Life Project was created by a small team of independent researchers in the hope of making real changes to support, protect and preserve aquatic habitats all around the world. Our primary goal is to implement tangible measures to conserve wetlands, lakes, rivers, and other aquatic habitats so that we may ensure a healthy future for all types of biodiversity which rely on them and ensure freshwater ecosystems thrive well into the future; our vision is one where human and environmental development occurs sustainably.

Our Aims

Freshwater habitats are under immense pressure as demand for water increases and it is getting worse every day. The expansion of towns and cities, the exponential increase in plastic waste, and the unstoppable growth of agriculture continue at an alarming rate with no positive end in sight. Freshwater Life Project aims to protect important natural aquatic ecosystems from the largest rivers to the smallest lagoons, one by one, help create and restore aquatic habitats, and help improve understanding of the role freshwater biodiversity and ecosystems play in society, for the benefit of human society and wildlife alike.

Our Objectives

Identify Species & Habitats At Risk:

We need to identify species and habitats which are most urgently at risk, especially those which are in places with high levels of endangered and/or endemic species. We aim to establish projects not only in places where it is most needed, but where problems are being most overlooked or solutions are most difficult to achieve.

Connect with Local Organisations & Individuals:

We will connect with local organisations with existing efforts in place to maximise chances of success and provide important resources. We will also bridge connections between these organisations and other individuals who may be able to support and assist the cause.

Assess what action is required:

All projects and research we conduct are developed and executed to the highest social and scientific standards with the support of tangible evidence to identify factors and justify our involvement. We connect with scientific and social advisors, including local people who best understand their needs, to produce a comprehensive accountable action plan.

Educate:

We will make a concerted effort to educate local communities and organizations as well as assist existing efforts to convey the message of how important freshwater ecosystems are and why. We will thoroughly explain and demonstrate how and why it is vital that local communities should help in these efforts and even be at the forefront of their ongoing management and maintenance.

Make tangible changes at all levels:

We will work together with governments, local authorities, corporations, local businesses, schools, and influential individuals to teach and implement sustainable development methods and demonstrate why they are important.

Connecting and combining efforts:

Current scientific and legislative reports and publications pertaining to target species or habitats guide our efforts to identify relevant authoritative figures for target species or local government / non-governmental organisations working within the target remit.

Research and assess:

Perform environmental impact assessments and habitat surveys. Determine threats and develop action plans in collaboration with local authorities, NGO’s and specialists.

Make perceptible differences:

We aim to establish protected zones managed and maintained by a local team or an organisation backed by local people and have existing protected areas extended to include other target areas and species where possible. Comprehensive guidelines will steer projects towards real measurable results and we will mobilise teams / volunteers to participate in specific initiatives and get involved in conservation projects under supervision and guidance.

Changes that benefit all:

We aim to enable access to training and education programs in sustainable development and facilitate conversion to cleaner and more environmentally friendly and sustainable alternatives to existing practices. We will work with local communities to achieve sustainable incomes with direct incentives to protect their local environments and native species culminating in self-managed programs run by communities. We are eager to work with agriculture organisations and local farmers to make sustainable changes to existing practices and demonstrate the benefits of native species to the wider ecosystems and to their businesses; we want to help agriculture firms reduce the negative impact of agriculture on the environment.

Create opportunities:

Offer programs which incentivise volunteering with rewards by providing pathways to employment in the conservation sector and/or opportunities to participate in international projects and/or fund independent study within the remit of the charity.

Conservation:

Create and implement in-situ conservation plans and ex-situ captive breeding initiatives managed and monitored by local teams / organisations and involve those communities and organisations, including schools in the release process and ongoing monitoring process.

The Founders

Chris is an aquatic researcher and naturalist primarily interested in freshwater teleosts, crustacea, and macrophytes. His personal research includes the freshwater and coastal habitats on the island of Cyprus

Jinesh has worked as a nature conservationist in Europe, North America, Asia, and Africa for the best part of the last fifteen years, his exploits include researching aquatic habitats in Bali, Borneo, and Cambodia.

Matthijs Strietman is a former aquarist from Zoological Society of London where he was responsible for maintaining a variety of freshwater and marine animals. His role also involved the maintenance of the endangered species breeding programme

Board of Advisors

Dr Stamatis Zogaris is a research associate at the Hellenic Centre for Marine Research in Greece where his work primarily involves biodiversity research and bioassessment; studying fishes & birds, biogeography, habitat types and landscape

Dr Jörg Freyhof is a scientist at the Leibniz institute for Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries in Berlin. He has worked closely with IUCN as an assessor for red list species and is one of the special advisors to the IUCN Freshwater Fish Specialist group

Brian Zimmerman is the Director of Conservation and Science at Bristol Zoological Society. He is a member of the IUCN Freshwater Fish Specialist Group and a special advisor to the Association of Zoos and Aquariums

Dr Daniel De Castro is the curator of the Malta National Aquarium. As a child, he was intrigued by the natural world and later went to study in Florida, majoring in zoology.

Dr. Michael Köck is the curator of freshwater, birds, and mammals at Haus des Meeres Aqua Terra Zoo in Vienna, Austria. He has been an instrumental figure in the reintroduction of the critically endangered Zoogoneticus tequila (Tequila Splitfin fish) back into the wild.

Prof. Salih Gücel is Head of the Department of Science & Education and Director of the Institute of Environmental Sciences at the Near East University in Northern Cyprus.

Dr Raymond Caruana is a member of the Aquaculture Directorate Malta responsible for regulating activities and implementing sustainability concerning fisheries and aquaculture.

Dr Neil Gale is the founder of the Magic of Life Butterfly Centre in Aberystwyth, Wales where he works with various rare and endangered butterfly and moth species and many rare species of plants.

Ivan Mikolji is a world-renowned explorer, researcher, audio/visual artist, and author who tirelessly documents the magnificent diversity and wonder of South America.

Andre Schott is director of Fitzrovia Youth in Action, a community action organisation focusing on empowering and supporting young people to develop projects which address the issues they care about.

Professor Roy Yanong is currently President of the American Association of Fish Veterinarians, Chair of the Aquatics Working Group for the American Veterinary Medical Association’s Panel on Euthanasia; a former member and Chair of the AVMA’s Aquatic Veterinary Medicine Committee (AqVMC); and a past member of the AVMA’s Animal Agriculture Liaison Committee

The Team

Laura has a BSc in Zoology (Animal Behaviour and Welfare) from the University of Chester and an MSc in Wild Animal Biology. She is the current project manager for our Inner City Pond Project.

Amy Adwan has a BSc in Environmental Science from the University of Limerick and is an experienced ecologist with a demonstrated history of working in the environmental services industry.

Mark studied ecology and conservation at Sparsholt College before completing BSc and MSc research degrees in ecology and biology at the University of Portsmouth. His research interests are in ecosystem function, trophic ecology, biogeochemistry, and also visual communication and cognition of fishes