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In Pictures: The 'sea gypsies' of Myanmar
Nomads living on the waters off of southern Myanmar find their lifestyle threatened by overfishing and illegal trawling.
Last updated: 17 May 2014 14:36
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Mergui, Myanmar - The Mergui Archipelago, which consists of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands scattered off the coast of southern Myanmar, is home to the Moken people. This ethnic minority is thought to have left southern China around 4,000 years ago. They roamed the sea as far south as Malaysia before separating as a distinct cultural group in the late 1600s.

Sometimes referred to as "sea gypsies" - a broad term used to describe several cultures in Southeast Asia - the Moken have traditionally led a nomadic life and survived on what they can forage from the sea. Families live in a 10-metre-long "mother boat" known as kabang, behind which several small dugout canoes are towed.
 
Ten years ago, the Moken numbered 12,000 people. But today, the numbers of Moken living the nomadic life are thought to have declined to only about 2,000 due to overfishing, illegal trawling and blast fishing.
 
Hla Dal, a Moken in his early 20s, explains that he and his family abandoned their nomadic life two years ago. "Before we could catch a lot of squid and fill a basket with 20kg in a day. Now we can only manage 3kg in a day … We couldn't afford to maintain our mother boat. It's easier to fish from the village."
 
The Mergui Archipelago receives few tourists, and was only opened to foreigners in 1996. Last year, 12 licenses to develop resorts were granted for the area, including one on Kyun Philar, which is scheduled to open in 2016. This, combined with commercial fishing, represents perhaps the biggest threat to the Moken way of life. 

/Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

The Moken people, a nomadic ethnic minority also known as "sea gypsies", live on the waters off Myanmar's Mergui Archipelago. Today, there are around 2,000 members who continue to live the nomadic lifestyle, down from 12,000 a decade ago.



/Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A passenger disembarks from the bow of a longtail boat at a jetty near the town of Kawthaung near the Mergui Archipelago - an isolated group of more than 800 islands that see very little tourism.



/Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A Burmese fisherman who has married a into a Moken family prepares sea snails for dinner.



/Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A Moken man who lives with his wife, daughter, her husband and their two children sits on a small, 10-metre-long wooden ship called the "the mother boat" that acts as their home.



/Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Moken children travel in a kabang, a small dugout canoe.



/Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Threats to the Moken way of life include overfishing and blast fishing, which has devastated the area's coral reefs.



/Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

The Moken sustain themselves with small-scale fishing.



/Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A Burmese fisherman documents the day's catch with pen and paper on the deck of a fishing boat.



/Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A Burmese fisherman works on the bow of a fishing boat.



/Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Fishermen load their catch into drums of ice so the fish remain fresh when they land.



/Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
Fish hang out to dry on the deck of a Burmese fishing boat anchored off the island of Kyun Philar.


/Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Du Tha Nuc, who lives on the shore of the island of Kyun Philar, told Al Jazeera that his family ended their traditional nomadic way of life seven years ago because it became too difficult to catch fish and too expensive to maintain their "mother boat".




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images:
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captions:

The Moken people, a nomadic ethnic minority also known as "sea gypsies", live on the waters off Myanmar(***)s Mergui Archipelago. Today, there are around 2,000 members who continue to live the nomadic lifestyle, down from 12,000 a decade ago.

;*;

A passenger disembarks from the bow of a longtail boat at a jetty near the town of Kawthaung near the Mergui Archipelago - an isolated group of more than 800 islands that see very little tourism.

;*;

A Burmese fisherman who has married a into a Moken family prepares sea snails for dinner.

;*;

A Moken man who lives with his wife, daughter, her husband and their two children sits on a small, 10-metre-long wooden ship called the "the mother boat" that acts as their home.

;*;

Moken children travel in a kabang, a small dugout canoe.

;*;

Threats to the Moken way of life include overfishing and blast fishing, which has devastated the area(***)s coral reefs.

;*;

The Moken sustain themselves with small-scale fishing.

;*;

A Burmese fisherman documents the day(***)s catch with pen and paper on the deck of a fishing boat.

;*;

A Burmese fisherman works on the bow of a fishing boat.

;*;

Fishermen load their catch into drums of ice so the fish remain fresh when they land.

;*;Fish hang out to dry on the deck of a Burmese fishing boat anchored off the island of Kyun Philar.;*;

Du Tha Nuc, who lives on the shore of the island of Kyun Philar, told Al Jazeera that his family ended their traditional nomadic way of life seven years ago because it became too difficult to catch fish and too expensive to maintain their "mother boat".

Daylife ID:
55120f9be59f622bb7217da4e6966a9f
Photographer:
;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;;*;
Image Source:
Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera;*;Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera
Gallery Source:
Daylife
Daylife Raw Data:
Sea Gypsies Myanmarhttp://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmaren-ussupport@newscred.comUntitled Site10Mon, 05 May 2014 09:55:52 GMT http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/a41b902adfdf8349be968eaeb3da8782

A passenger disembarks from the bow of a longtail boat at a jetty near the town of Kawthaung, a southern gateway to the Mergui Archipelago - an isolated grouping of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands that sees very little tourism.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/a41b902adfdf8349be968eaeb3da8782Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A passenger disembarks from the bow of a longtail boat at a jetty near the town of Kawthaung, a southern gateway to the Mergui Archipelago - an isolated grouping of more than 800 mostly uninhabited islands that sees very little tourism.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/84882cccade8d7e366afb62fb5404180

A family of Moken, a nomadic ethnic minority, also known as the Sea Gypsies, sit in their "mother boat". The Moken are thought to number between 2,000 to 3,000 members. This combined with commercial fishing represents a real threat to the Moken way of life.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/84882cccade8d7e366afb62fb5404180Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A family of Moken, a nomadic ethnic minority, also known as the Sea Gypsies, sit in their "mother boat". The Moken are thought to number between 2,000 to 3,000 members. This combined with commercial fishing represents a real threat to the Moken way of life.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/e298d3e989eec74ac18cccac25afdd57

A Burmese fisherman who has married a into a Moken family prepares sea snails for their dinner on a small wooden boat on which they live.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/e298d3e989eec74ac18cccac25afdd57Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A Burmese fisherman who has married a into a Moken family prepares sea snails for their dinner on a small wooden boat on which they live.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/f1e349f45e134ab827763b93ca9552d5

A Moken man who lives with his wife, daughter, her husband and their two children sits on the small wooden boat that is their home.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/f1e349f45e134ab827763b93ca9552d5Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A Moken man who lives with his wife, daughter, her husband and their two children sits on the small wooden boat that is their home.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/6f540bd483cd182d8b6d5d2b78719be4

Moken children travel in a dugout canoe known as a kabang.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/6f540bd483cd182d8b6d5d2b78719be4Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Moken children travel in a dugout canoe known as a kabang.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/437a21563b8c043849c57b89c18984b1

Threats to the industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/437a21563b8c043849c57b89c18984b1Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Threats to the industry include overfishing and blast fishing (fishing with dynamite) which is also devastating to the area's coral reefs.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/55a20e6f9d139c9687924afb8a9d82f6

Small fish placed out to dry on the deck of a fishing boat on the Mergui Archipelago.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/55a20e6f9d139c9687924afb8a9d82f6Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Small fish placed out to dry on the deck of a fishing boat on the Mergui Archipelago.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/afb94c4cb606dac5fed29bd0e25c4279

A Burmese fisherman ties a knot in a large rope on the deck of a fishing boat on the Mergui Archipelago.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/afb94c4cb606dac5fed29bd0e25c4279Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A Burmese fisherman ties a knot in a large rope on the deck of a fishing boat on the Mergui Archipelago.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/46f84895cf381f2935aaa80504aa42b7

A Burmese fisherman, documents the day's catch with pen and paper on the deck of a fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/46f84895cf381f2935aaa80504aa42b7Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A Burmese fisherman, documents the day's catch with pen and paper on the deck of a fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/168d938df29b34ca8de644e0fee1bb1b

A Burmese fisherman, wearing a longyi, a traditonal wrap of cloth, works on the bow of a fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/168d938df29b34ca8de644e0fee1bb1bDave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A Burmese fisherman, wearing a longyi, a traditonal wrap of cloth, works on the bow of a fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/2aa02fa8ba0c74dae08477e570606d88

Fishermen load their catch into drums of ice to be brought in to port on the Mergui Archipelago.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/2aa02fa8ba0c74dae08477e570606d88Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Fishermen load their catch into drums of ice to be brought in to port on the Mergui Archipelago.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/7907b8959438c82ee8639f54bf7456fd

Fish loaded into drums of ice on a Burmese fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/7907b8959438c82ee8639f54bf7456fdDave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Fish loaded into drums of ice on a Burmese fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/3e0336d40ae88c75cca9a252d0c2fb84

Low ceilinged living quarters a Burmese fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/3e0336d40ae88c75cca9a252d0c2fb84Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Low ceilinged living quarters a Burmese fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/3606101d262dfdcb13f64e459e2245e1

A fisherman rests in a hammock near the stern of a fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/3606101d262dfdcb13f64e459e2245e1Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A fisherman rests in a hammock near the stern of a fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/2315ea57f6b5867c8e50759230944616

Small fish placed out to dry on the deck of a fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/2315ea57f6b5867c8e50759230944616Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Small fish placed out to dry on the deck of a fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/9c27890b54879e6810cfdf014946aaf0

Fish hang out to dry on the deck of a Burmese fishing boat anchored off the island of Kyun Philar.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/9c27890b54879e6810cfdf014946aaf0Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Fish hang out to dry on the deck of a Burmese fishing boat anchored off the island of Kyun Philar.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/8838fd25103d1ffa6dfc8e46c47c5a38

A Burmese fisherman, wearing a longyi, a traditonal wrap of cloth, thanaka, a pale paste made from bark, on his face and smoking a green cheroot, rests in a low-ceilinged cabin on the upper deck of his fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/8838fd25103d1ffa6dfc8e46c47c5a38Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

A Burmese fisherman, wearing a longyi, a traditonal wrap of cloth, thanaka, a pale paste made from bark, on his face and smoking a green cheroot, rests in a low-ceilinged cabin on the upper deck of his fishing boat.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/0ac3547118b8b8250b78dfe09c434499

Li Lang (left), her husband Du Tha Nuc and their grandson Wef Thai (right) at their home in a village on the shore of the island of Kyun Philar on the Mergui Archipelago.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/0ac3547118b8b8250b78dfe09c434499Dave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Li Lang (left), her husband Du Tha Nuc and their grandson Wef Thai (right) at their home in a village on the shore of the island of Kyun Philar on the Mergui Archipelago.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/98ddbf07b639e00512c0284682cbd50b

Du Tha Nuc at his home in a village on the shore of the island of Kyun Philar Nuc's family ended their traditional nomadic way of life seven years ago as it became more diffficult to catch fish and too expensive to maintain their mother boat. One resort is planned for their island, which has a 3km stretch of beach. The Lang says her family will have to move within two years.

http://aljazeera.galleries.newscred.com/gallery/Sea_Gypsies_Myanmar/slideshow/no-caption/98ddbf07b639e00512c0284682cbd50bDave Tacon/Al Jazeera

Du Tha Nuc at his home in a village on the shore of the island of Kyun Philar Nuc's family ended their traditional nomadic way of life seven years ago as it became more diffficult to catch fish and too expensive to maintain their mother boat. One resort is planned for their island, which has a 3km stretch of beach. The Lang says her family will have to move within two years.



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