Chris therefore decided to establish the Aquarium Welfare Association to raise awareness and to make is easier to access welfare information.
Previous to working in the aquarium industry Chris read marine biology to Masters Level at the University of Southampton. In his previous role at the University of Southampton, in addition to running the research aquarium, Chris was a member of the University’s Animal Welfare and Ethics Review Board and was the link member of staff between the University of Southampton and the Universities Federation for Animal Welfare (UFAW). Chris also co-supervised BSc dissertations, which have included looking at abnormal behaviours of captive elasmobranchs and looking at enrichment of wild otters during their stay in a rescue and rehabilitation centre.
Chris has also sat on the Sea Life Aquarium’s national ethics meeting as an external member. He is also a member of the Fisheries Society of The British Isles, the British Liverbearer Association, the Institute of Fisheries Management as well as a member of UFAW.
Chris’s research interests can be summarised as understanding the welfare and behaviour of captive aquatic animals being used within public, research and hobbyist aquariums. Specifically Chris is interested in:
1. Understanding cognition and pain, thereby improving welfare and husbandry standards.
2. The impact of enclosure design on the health and behaviour of aquatic animals.
3. Human behaviour change for animal welfare. Looking at how we can change human attitudes towards aquatic animals.
He is also interested in animal ethics, particularly within zoological collections and research institutes.
Chris is currently the Displays Manager at the Lakes Aquarium where he manages a collection based on freshwater lakes around the world, as well as native environments from the mountain tops to our native shores.
Previously Chris was a Lecturer in Animal Welfare and Management at Moulton College, where he taught both further education and higher education, with a specific focus on aquatic welfare and management.
Chris has a number of years’ experience working in the public aquarium industry and within research aquariums, including a position as the Aquarium Technician and Named Animal Care & Welfare Officer (NACWO) at the University of Southampton. It became apparent to Chris that there is a knowledge gap regarding the welfare standards of captive aquatic animals and that public awareness is minimal.