05/14/2009 - The Pew Charitable Trusts describes itself as "a knowledge-based advocate for policy solutions in the areas of the environment, state issues, economic concerns, and the health and financial security of the American people." Backed by Pew's assets that approach $6 billion is Pew's powerful worldwide Environment Group. For the first time in his 20-year tenure heading up that major part of Pew, Josh Reichert has granted an interview to a sport-fishing publication. Arguably, no single individual among all environmental organizations wields more influence in the area of marine conservation in the United States and the world. Whether one agrees with what Reichert says or not, we think it's critical to hear his thoughts on issues of concern to anglers and the larger recreational-fishing community. Certainly, Sport Fishing does not necessarily agree, and certainly, this interview is in no way an endorsement of Pew. Its purpose is solely to give sport-fishing interests the chance to better understand — and therefore deal with — the motivation and direction of the environmental manager of Pew. We would welcome the reaction of those who read this and will look for that in our forums, where readers can go to share their thoughts. — Ed.
SF: Let's start with Josh Reichert. How long have you managed the Pew Environment Group?
JR: I've been the managing director of the group since 1990. The Environment Group of the Trusts consists of over 120 people and is a professionally and geographically diverse group of scientists, communications professionals, lawyers and policy experts.
SF: Would you describe yourself as an angler?
JR: When I was growing up, I spent a lot of time fishing, predominantly fly-fishing. While I love to fish, it's difficult for me to find the time these days to get out on the water.
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SF: What is Pew's [environmental] mission?
JR: As a whole, our mission is to strengthen environmental quality on land and in the oceans. We work on three very specific problems: the mitigation of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change; the protection of large, still relatively intact ecosystems on public lands; and the protection of the ocean environment, with a predominant focus on marine fisheries. With regard to our oceans work, we recognize that ultimately, global warming's impact on the world's marine environment will dwarf the problem of fishing. But at the moment, no activity is responsible for so much destruction of life in the sea as industrial fishing.
Read the complete interview Pew’s Reichert Talks to Anglers on Sport Fishing's Web site.