Kai Mattsson

Main working experience:

My work with marine fauna has originally started when I managed to get a job, through my hobby, in the largest public aquarium in Finland, the Särkänniemi Aquarium. At that time it was the only recognized public aquarium in Finland.

Before that I had been working in a pet shop in 1980-1981.

Meritime (2004 – present)

In 2004 I founded my own company Tmi Meritime.

Meritime Consulting is giving me a possibility to practice other interest of life which cannot be done within the framework of my commitments to my work with fauna.

The need for Meritime came from the demand of producing show & theatrical productions and acting in such productions outside of my regular work as well as a dawning interest from dog & domestic animal community for lectures on animal behaviorism from me.

Since then I have done several productions to different communities or companies; churches, theaters, dog clubs and professional animal trainers & zookeepers.

My professionalism includes:

  • Expertise on marine mammals

  • Conservation interests and implications (ie. Baltic harbor porpoise)

  • Aquarium technologies & advanced care of fish species

  • Reptile care & welfare

  • Show / theatrical production

    • Designing of sound & musical environments (including partial design for lightning)

  • Facility design (for housing marine life) and aquarium & terrarium designs

  • Advanced and applied animal behaviorism (operant conditioning)

    • Lectures of operant conditioning and behavior management

    • Applying those principles in business coaching as well as staff development

  • Lectures on reptile care

  • Animal welfare and its assessments on different zoological & domestic settings

  • Animal photography

  • Translation of animal training / marine mammal specified texts

  • Publications on animal training / marine mammal specified topics

  • Public speaking

EAZA Academy (2016 - ongoing)

In early 2016 I got accepted to EAZA Academy as educator & instructor. The responsibilities of this position is to develop and deliver high quality animal welfare & behavior managements strategies to EAZA zoological environment animal care and via this increase the training and welfare of animals under human care within this community to it's members.

Aquarium; (1982-86 / 2015 - present)

At the Aquarium I worked from 1982 to 1986, first as a part time worker but I soon became a full-time employee. The work at the Aquarium has been very independent and it includes taking care of tropical fresh- and marine fishes as well as fresh- and marine coldwater fishes. Planing and construction of new exhibits and operating, control and maintenance of filtering systems was also part of my work. At the Aquarium we also had two seals; a harbor seal, Phoca vitulina, and a grey seal, Halichoerus grypus, taking care of these animals was also part of my daily routine.


  • Understanding of all Aquarium ecosystems and a full understanding of the Aquarium techniques as well as understanding of the practical management of a public Aquarium.

  • Training and care of different reptiles in our collection

  • Daily care and medication of harbor seal as well as gray seal

  • Basic training of the seals and some fish species.

Dolpinarium; (1985-2016)

In 1985 I started my work at the Dolphinarium of the Särkänniemi Oy in Tampere, Finland. First I was assisting the care take of bottlenosed dolphins, Tursiops truncatus but soon my position was changed into fulltime employment with dolphins. After that I pretty soon got in the training of these dolphins and in 1989 my position at the Dolphinarium was changed into the Head Trainer/Curator of the facility.

My responsibilities have included:

  • Training of the dolphins, including husbandry and show behaviors.

  • Animal training strategies

  • Husbandry and medical care of the dolphins.

  • Helping in evaluation of medical samples with local veterinarians.

  • Training of the new trainers in our facility and other personnel training.

  • General staff development.

  • Producing and writing the script of the shows for public display.

  • Producing the music and direction of the shows for public display.

  • Operation and control of the experimental biological water purification system.

  • Writing of educational materials for exhibitions & performances.

  • Design and implementation of exhibition materials.

  • Design of a unique PC-based computer monitoring system for the water treatment of the facility as well as the training and health monitoring program of the animals housed in the facility.

  • P.R. work; Making of P.R. plans for different projects and participation in i.e. interviews to newspapers, radio and TV.

  • Planning, designing and remodeling of the dolphinarium facility for cetaceans with a new exhibition & classroom for visiting customs. Renovation and design of a cetacean facility I have experience from Särkänniemi but also from of my personal consulting in a similar situation abroad (i.e 1999 – Kish Island, Redsea).

I have also given my input in management of the Dolphinarium as a foreman of the training staff and in planning of the budget of the Dolphinarium.

In 2011 my position was upgraded into an Expert in Marine life and Animal behaviorism & a Curator & Senior trainer at the Dolphinarium.

EAAM (membership 1987 – 2017)

(European association for Aquatic Mammals)

European Association for Aquatic Mammals (EAAM), in which I have been a member r since late 80's. 1997-2004 I held the position of the Secretary /Treasurer of the EAAM. In 2004 I was re-elected to the board of the Association (past the terms defined in the bylaws) as a co-opted board member for the next two years. The position in the board lasted therefore altogether 8 years. This work keeps me constantly in contact with the marine mammal society. In those years I was heavily involved in the development of the association to what it is today, I also was involved with putting up the scientific program of each annual meeting of the Eaam by giving formal presentations in the meetings and organizing i.e. training workshops for the international organization.

My commitment with the Eaam is still an ongoing process. I have been involved with the association and its members in i.e Professional Cetaceans (IMM) -group as well as in 2010 founded accreditation group.

I’ve been involved in the association by giving formal presentations (~lectures) in its annual meetings, by participating its working group meeting and by being involved in organizing European regional meeting of the association.

In 2011 I’ve started to work with the organization again as a member of the association’s training committee for approximately 5 years time.


  • Member since 1987

  • Board member 1997-2006

  • Organizing of scientific programs & different workshops

  • Accreditator in Accreditation Committee

  • Member of the Training Committee

  • Member of Professional Cetaceans group

  • Chair for the Professional Ceataceans /Institutonal members working group (2012 - 2015)

Imata (1987 – 2018)

(Internation Marine Animal Trainers Association)

I’ve been a member of the association since late 80’s. I’ve been involved in the association by giving formal presentations in its annual meetings, by participating its working group meeting and by being involved in organizing European regional meeting of the association.


  • Members since 1987

  • Several presentation in the Annual meetings

  • Chair of several annual meeting sessions

  • participating in organizing Imata-regional meetings (Europe)

I am still actively following Imata discussions etc interesting events but mostly via social media or internet.


(Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks & Aquariums)

Member via Särkänniemi company of the association since early 90’s ( -> 2015)

I was also member of it's Accreditation Committee and did few accreditation, mostly in European facilities.

Ascobans (2000 – 2017)

(The Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas)

In 2000 The Ministry of Environment chose me to be the official representative of Finland in the Advisory Committee of the ASCOBANS. Basically the work is related to porpoises, Phocoena phocoena, the only cetacean rarely found from Finnish coastal areas. My duties include participation of the Ascobans Advisory Committee meetings and to the Meetings of the Parties. By doing this I am in close relationship with Finnish ministry of environment to see that all obligations of the agreement shall be implemented in Finland.

My personal co-operation with the ASCOBANS already started in 1995.

Jastarnia group

Within the Ascobans I am a member of Jastarnia group (2000 - present)

- The Jastarnia Group is a working group of the ASCOBANS Advisory Committee within the meaning of Article 5.4 of the ASCOBANS Agreement. It is the Steering Group for the ASCOBANS Recovery Plan for Baltic Harbour Porpoises.

SAMBAH recearch; I was actively involved in this international partly LIFE+ funded research project as a representative of Särkänniemi ltd, one of Finland's Project Partners.

Porpoise group Finland (2000 – present)

In 2001 I was asked by the Finnish government to participate as an expert in the development of organizing a network in Finland within the Agreement of the Conservation of Small Cetacean in the Baltic, North East Atlantic, Irish and North Seas (ASCOBANS). This work is done in co-operation with Finnish Ministry of Environment. With the ministry and some other co-organizations we founded Finland's "Porpose - working group" in order to spread knowledge of this species and to collect all data of sighting of porpoises in the Finish sea areas.

In 2004 a formal working group was established from the basis of the Porpoise group Finland by the Ministry of Environment to implement EU regulations and Ascobans references for Recovery Plan of Baltic Harbour porpoise. I was chosen to this working group as a permanent expert on marine mammals. The outcome of the working group was delivered to the minister of environment in 2006 - An updated to this statement was done and delivered in august 2016. (Porpoise in Finland, A Proposal of the implementations to protect the porpoise – Pyöriänen Suomessa, Ehdotus toimenpiteistä pyöriäisen suojelemiseksi Suomessa, Pyöriäistyöryhmän mietintö).

Currently I am a member of:

  • Ascobans (Jastarnia group)

  • Porpoise group Finland

  • EAZA Academy - on animal welfare & animal behavior managment

  • Board member in Theatre of Birgitta (Lempäälä, Finland)

  • Band member of Mooseksen Parta ( my hobby of playing saxophone)


  • Diploma of baccalaureate degree

  • Driving licence

  • C-mas Diving licence

  • Average level of use of computer technology

  • Aquarium techniques and the large knowledge of care take of different fish species (fresh water, sea water, brackish water).

  • Studies on marine mammals from literature as well as from numerous participation's in different scientific lectures in different international Symposia on marine mammals (1992 -to present).

  • Advanced animal training essentials & techniques

  • Behavioral studies in techniques of differential and positive reinforcement in cetacean provided by the employer and consultants.

(i.e. Bruce Stephens, Sea Ways, USA / Precision Behavior Thad Lacinak & Angie Millwood / Caren Pryor (2004) / Bob Bailey (2007), Ken Ramirez (multiple since 2000 - )

  • Studies of the animal behaviorism field especially of the operant conditioning through workshops.

  • Animal welfare studies and different courses on the topic

  • Online animal welfare education course by University of Edinburgh.

  • Musical education (>15 years) by a private music school. (+ over 35 years actively being involved in musical world and music production in working environment)

  • Photgraphing through workshops and basic phot editing

  • Video & photographic productions

  • Theatrical activities

    • Multiple activities within theater ie.following;

      • Producer/sound & light design + effects/manuscript/set designer

      • Actor/scriptwriter

      • Producer/composer/sound design + effects/manuscript arrangement


  • Publication

IMATA (International Marine Animal Trainers Association) journal Sounding, 2003

If there is only one trainer on staff, what suggestions do you have for training, especially more complex behaviours?

  • Publication

IMATA (International Marine Animal Trainers Association) journal Sounding, nr. 4/2011

Do you use an end of session signal? Why or why not?

  • Publication

Ympäristöministerille luovutettu Pyöriäistyöryhmän mietintö, 2004 sekä 2016

A report compiled by Porpoise group Finland – hand out to Finnish ministry of environment, 2004 and in 2016.

Pyöriäinen Suomessa, Ehdotus toimenpiteistä pyöriäisen suojelemiseksi Suomessa / Porpoise in Finland, a proposal of the implementations to protect the porpoise

  • Publication

Eläinmaailman artikkeli; “ Valaita kotivesillämme” / article; Whales in our waters, 15.07.2006

  • Publication

Nisäkkäät kirjasarjan II osa artikkeli eläinten koulutuksesta / Mammals book series part II – an article on animal training, 10/2011, Weiling Göös.

Eläinten koulutuksen ABC / ABC of animal training

  • Translation

Nick Nick, the bottlenosed dolphin, Michael Fox

Käännös /translation Kai Mattsson

Nick Nick pullonokka, 1986, WSOY

  • Translation

Coalition Clean Baltic prochure, 2008

The Baltic Habour Porpoise Needs Protection / Itämeren pyöriäinen kaipaa suojelua

  • Translation

Translation of ASCOBANS (Agreement on the Conservation of Small Cetaceans of the Baltic and North Seas) international exhibition from English to Finnish 07/2011