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These nomads spend nearly their entire lives at sea — but they could be the last generation to do so

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These nomads spend nearly their entire lives at sea — but they could be the last generation to do so

james morgan 4

  • The Bajau Laut are a Southeast Asian people that have lived for centuries in the seas around Malaysia, Indonesia, and the Philippines.
  • The Bajau make their living spearfishing and selling to Hong Kong fishing companies.
  • But the Bajau are slowly losing their culture and may no longer be able to make a living as their habitat has been overfished.

UK native James Morgan was studying photography in London when he read about a group of seafaring Southeast Asian nomads who had survived the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami with almost no casualties.

“They understood the ocean so well that they headed for protection before the tsunami hit,” Morgan told Business Insider. 

An anthropologist by training, Morgan decided to document the Bajau Laut, who have begun to lose their culture in recent years because of government programs that force them ashore and the difficult reality of fishing for a living in overfished seas.

Morgan found a nomadic people struggling to sustain themselves by continuing to overfish the waters and, ultimately, hurting the very habitat they call home.

In 2014, Morgan shared a selection of his photos of the Bajau Laut with us. You can see the rest at his website.

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The Bajau are a nomadic Malay people who have lived at sea for centuries, primarily in a tract of ocean by the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia.

Bajau traditionally live on handmade “lepa-lepa” boats, bringing everything they need to sea, including cooking utensils, kerosene lamps, food, water, and even plants. They come to shore only to trade or fix their boats.

Traditionally hunter-gatherers, the Bajau have provided for themselves primarily by spearfishing. They are highly skilled free divers, swimming to depths up to 100 feet to hunt for grouper, pearls, and sea cucumbers.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Source: Business Insider (BusinessInsider.com)

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