About 40 years ago, I went to Phuket as kid. I went with my family on an Island hopping around Phuket. At many of those islands were the Moken people, a sea nomad people, and on the beaches with their fishing vessels, they were selling sea shells to the tourist, for some extra money. It was sort of strange seeing them doing that, as on the beach in Phuket, as a kid then, I was playing merchant with sea shells with my kid friends. I recently visited Phuket, going with a cruise ship, and this time saw some of the nomads, settled on isolated island, but the old bahavior, of meeting tourist to sell seashell, was no more to be seen.
(Up-Dated) From the Fiji Times (Source)
FOR centuries, the Moken sea nomads have traveled the islands between Thailand and Myanmar fishing and foraging for food on the sea floor. Throughout the Mergui Archipelago, Moken migrate in flotillas of Kabangs (traditional boat of the Moken people), stopping at different islands and beaches. Expert freedivers, the Moken have adapted physically to an aquatic life, developing unique characteristics that let them see better and hold their breath longer while underwater. Today, however, under pressure from the Thai government, and unable to see a viable future after the devastation of the 2004 tsunami and rampant commercial overfishing, all of the Moken in Thailand have settled into villages. These villages are often places of frustration, where Moken, born at sea without birth certificates, are treated as stateless and struggle to find jobs or receive benefits from the government. Alcoholism and unemployment rates are high. Recently, one of these Thai Moken traveled the Mergui Archipelago to the relatively undeveloped islands of southern Myanmar, searching for Moken still living traditionally. In his search up to the 11th parallel, he only found one remaining Moken family living on a Kabang. This family travels alone from island to island searching for areas not completely exploited by increasingly unsustainable fishing methods employed in Burma.
‘Last of the Moken Sea Nomads’ – A culture fallen victim to overfishing in Thailand
An indigenous Moken man takes his boat out from the beach near his village in Ko Surin National Park. Oct 11, 2013 – Ko Surin, Thailand. (©Taylor Weidman/zReportage.com via ZUMA Press)
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marko 3 hours ago
Yes, watched Thai commercial fishermen blatantly, and illegally line fishing off Similan Islands dive site, in January. Me, and the rest of the divers on the MV Andaman started yelling at them to get lost, we were going to report them to Thai authorities. Took many pictures, including number of fishing boat. I hope to God some of the dive crew followed through with that. Millions of divers have paid National Park fees to the Thai government to protect these water, and they totally allow this to go on. I feel so bad for the Moken. They used to come out from Surin Island Harbor in their Kabang, to sell their craftwork to the divers. I guess that way of life is gone now. Still have the traditional woven sea grass mat I bought from them twelve years ago.
ODG 1 hour ago
Its a joke. You cannot look to the sea without seeing the fishing boats that keep getting closer and closer to shore. Thailand dropped the ball on this one. Yingluck has had this presented to her many times to make changes in the fishing industry but never does a thing. Ruining lives and a way of life is not a problem for her. It is all about the money. Say what you want but the Royal Family never would allow this to happen.
Harv 6 hours ago
Sad and amazing story. Sad that the modern age does not seem to have room for classic cultures such as this one. Amazing that one family has managed to keep on keeping on for this long.
steve 5 hours ago
Every country that has a fishing fleet. Should take some of the roe from the catch and grow some fingerlings. Then intelligently release them into the kelp forest or a coral reef. A small, cheap effort, by a lot of fishing countries. Could make a huge difference over time.
Robert 2 hours ago
I fish the Sea of Cortez. Up until 10-15 yrs ago, it was full of fish. The longliners have been killing everything that swims for many years now, and the fishing is nothing like it was. Overpopulation and over-fishing will soon ruin all the fish habitats.
jaguargod 5 hours ago
The only good thing to come out of the countries that pollute and abuse their environment is that they will eventually destroy their ability to survive in that environment and fade away. That is how evolution works.
e k 6 hours ago
sad because cheap free protein is being vacuumed up by overpopulation and advanced fishing technologies. This Moken man is just a canary in the mine we all live in.
CeeBee50 3 hours ago
Might be a good idea to feed the fish in hatcheries… We could grid up the low life’s that are destroying the coral reefs and feed them to the fish. Its a win – win thing. We could grind up child molesters, Rapist, serial killers, communist, terrorist and feed them to the fish. (I wonder if the fish would get sick. Hmmmm…..) No point in spending $30,000 dollars a year to house, feed and medicate a prisoner that has a sentence of over 100 years…. Just an idea…
»Ó·¡ ° 6 hours ago
If they are smart, they’ll use that to their advantage and start finding new source of sustaining revenue.
xyz 5 hours ago
A truly sad and depressing story, as the consumer culture swallows the planet whole, and spits out toxins and homogenized human zombies, the interesting, the beautiful, and the most adaptable of life disappear. Evolution favors diversity though, so all is not lost
Angel Bobby 5 hours ago
In 1967 the prince, brother to the president, said to me that they were trying to develope small industries because the population was growing so fast that he saw the sea being fishless someday. I helped by sending in experts to start up new farms with new kinds of food. Why doesn’t Yahoo write about that?
Badger 5 hours ago
Overspecialization leads to extinction…
happygael 5 hours ago
i bet life would be rough there but beautiful and fairly stress free. plus you would get lots of sunshine and exercise and a low fat diet!.
Jerry 1 hour ago
Yahoo should not have posted this story without making the authors tell the whole story. This people group, along with urbanization have hurt the fish population. However, the Gribers Virus is having an equal, if not more of an impact on fish population in that area. This one can’t and should be blamed solely on the Moken.
sterrin 5 hours ago
Our planet does not have enough natural resources to sustain the amount of people on it.
Angel Bobby 5 hours ago
This is Yahoo at its worst- they talk about the lack of fish now not the millions that was kept alive for centuries.
Maquis 6 hours ago
Sad and all because the UN is NOT enforcing transnational fishing laws!!
Robert 1 hour ago
Raping the oceans world wide…Yea were a wonderful species. Just have to love the mercury tuna and I can hardly wait for the fukashima plate
Narangah 6 hours ago
Adapt or perish.
Be well 18 minutes ago
There was an article in National Geographic about the Sunami that hit Thailand,(2006?). The article said the Mokens knew a Sunami was coming and took their boats out to sea.
Max Finisterre 23 minutes ago
I wonder how many thousand pounds of fish are thrown in the dumpster every day in the USA? My guess is half of the fish sold in this country never gets eaten.
william 30 minutes ago
You can’t fix stupid or greed. When you live in denial about the facts you are dooming yourself and all around you. Kind of like global warming!
CeeBee50 3 hours ago
Can you say “Birth Control”?…. I knew that you could… But can you say it in what ever language those savages speak?…. I guess not…
Bongo Drums 5 hours ago
Adapt or die.
Anon 4 hours ago
Silly! It’s Last of the Mohicans!
Kathleen 1 hour ago
greed control .sad a fallen culture.sad
Occupy My Penis 3 hours ago
I don’t miss them.