Fishing The Sea To Death with Joshua S. Reichert

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We are simultaneously a destructive and a compassionate species. While humans are responsible for greater environmental devastation than any other creature, we are also capable of rising up in defense of other living beings and systems when we see a need. However, changes in the ecology of the sea go largely unnoticed. As a land species we have little awareness of what's happening beneath the waters. According to Joshua Reichert, "People don't mourn the loss of something they never knew existed, nor do they tend to mourn the disappearance of something they never experienced directly. They may regret its absence intellectually, but they don't feel the loss emotionally." It is Reichert's mission to raise our emotional awareness of the plight of the marine ecosystem, so that we will take steps to protect it before it's too late. In this interview he concisely lays out the facts that underlie the massive changes in sea life that have occurred in our lifetime. At the same time his passion for the balance, beauty, and wisdom of the ocean and its creatures stirs a longing to know more, feel more, and do more to save them. (hosted by Michael Toms)


Joshua Reichert, Ph.D. is a social anthropologist with broad experience in environmental protection, international development, and indigenous affairs. He directs the Policy Initiatives and Environmental Science Program of Pew Trust, and has held a variety of positions in both nonprofit and governmental organizations including, the National Security Archive in Washington, D.C., Conservation International, and the United Farmworkers of America. He holds a doctorate in social anthropology from Princeton University, has written more than fifty articles for publications, and has co-produced several films about the marine environment.

Topics Explored in This Dialogue

  • How wealth is related to the consumption of fish
  • What happens to fish that are caught and then released
  • How recreational fishing has impacted the global marine population
  • How the U.S. government subsidizes over-fishing
  • Why eating one farm raised fish has the same environmental impact as eating three wild fish
  • What you can do to save the marine ecosystem
Host: Michael Toms      Interview Date: 12/1/2005      Program Number: 3121