Valeska has been in love with the ocean and all its creatures since she was very little. Following her dreams, Valeska is a marine biologist and a passionate (scientific) diver. She has previously worked with Greenpeace and Sea Shepherd in Germany. In 2015 she joined FishAct and has been the director of the German charity since spring 2016.
“Industrial fishing can‘t be compared to any other form of how we‘re exploiting non-human animals today. Nowhere else are so many individuals dying every day unnoticed and unheard. One reason that this can happen is that fishing takes place completely out of sight, far out on the open ocean where nobody is watching. With our work we can show people what is happening in the fishing industry.”
Always looking for new and exciting forms of civic engagement, Josef was volunteering for several environmental organisations in the past. Josef has a master degree in social politics and is currently working for Campact, a petition platform for democratic policy change. He is a founding member of FishAct Germany, where he is organising regional and national events, projects and campaigns.
“Illegal fishing is not only an environmental issue, but an severe social justice issue. The work of FishAct is important, because it shows people what is actually happening in the European fishing industry. Crime and injustice need to be uncovered!”
Benny is an up and coming marine biologist, who uses his passion for photography, design and music for combating environmental issues. As a founding member of FishAct in Germany, he has been participating in many actions and is a trained Citizen Inspector. Benny is also one of the creators and authors of the blog An Outpost of Progress. Doing a PhD in Phytoplankton ecology and computational modeling, Benny sees great need for not just basic research, but also applied environmental conservation.
“FishAct was my introduction to the environmental movement, and I couldn’t be happier with this group of friends, trying to make a difference together. The current economic paradigm is not geared for sustainability, and eventually our oceans, forest, and grasslands will collapse if there is no dedicated action on the part of us humans.”
Sofian grew up on the Mediterranean coast in Tunisia, where he started developing an affinity for the sea at an early age. After moving to Germany to study Environmental Engineering, Sofian started to look for a way of giving back to the sea and joining the fight of ocean activists around the world to protect the blue heart of our planet. He is now part of the team coordinating the Citizen Inspector Network, training new people, planning and carrying out investigations.
“The fact that I’m able to do a variety of different activities that are not necessarily related to each other within the same organization is one of the things I like most about FishAct. There are no boxes that one has to fit in, everyone can use any type of skill they have and apply them to different projects or fields of expertise to make a difference for our oceans.”
Thijs is a passionate sailor and has a professional background in the maritime industry. His love for the sea brought Thijs to volunteering for FishAct. He has been involved in the organisation since the very start. After many years of doing promotion and background work in the Netherlands he finally joined an investigation as a Citizen Inspector in the summer of 2018. Thijs is preparing and carrying out investigative campaigns and part of the team that is increasing FishAct’s presence in the Netherlands.
“Illegal and industrial overfishing is an urgent global problem and unfortunately a very unpopular topic. I’m grateful that FishAct enables me to contribute my knowledge to the effort of making the oceans healthier.”
Tom is a UK based activist with a knack for logistics, problem solving and making stuff happen. Trained as an outdoor activities instructor and currently working as a centre manager his skill set is varied and diverse, but his heart lies in the environmental movement. From joining his Mum on Greenpeace stalls aged 5, to crewing on ships for them, campaigning for environmentally protection and taking part in direct action Tom believes that every tool at our disposal should be used in the name of maintaining a healthy ecosystem for the future.
“Joining FishAct allowed me to feel like I could make a real tangible difference to an organisation and to the health of our oceans. Whether that’s simply by turning on my laptop for an hour and helping the digital aspect of our work to joining a 10 day long investigation it is empowering to be a part of something so positive and so in need of your contribution.”
Sorsha’s fascination with animals and the ocean began at a very young age. Having studied a MSc in Marine Biology in the Netherlands and a BSc in Zoology in the UK, those interests only grew. Sorsha has long been involved in activism, both in the UK and in the Netherlands. Sorsha has been the chairperson for sustainability initiatives at her previous university, along with volunteering for other environmental campaigns. Her enthusiasm to protect our oceans and the wonderful organisms that live within them, runs deep in her everyday lifestyle.
“I have worked with many environmental organisations, but I feel FishAct is providing me with a wonderful opportunity to meet like-minded people. I feel part of something special. It’s easy to feel like we cannot make a change, or perhaps we can feel isolated because of how strongly we feel about righting wrongs but at FishAct, I feel like it is possible. I am very grateful to be part of such an organisation and I can’t wait to see what adventures lie ahead for us.”
Valentina is a passionate traveller who has always been in love with the ocean. After living, working and travelling in different parts of the world, she moved to The Netherlands to study Environment and Resouce Management and to look for opportunities to have a positive impact and protect what she loves the most, the seas and its inhabitants. Valentina is part of the social media team, and she is supporting with different projects.
“I strongly believe that people’s actions can make a significant difference for the future our planet. I am so glad FishAct gave me the opportunity to learn, improve myself and be part of a real change!”