Whilst few young Bajau are now born on boats, the ocean is still very much their playground. And whilst they are getting conflicted messages from their communities, who simultaneously refrain from spitting in the ocean and continue to dynamite its reefs, I still believe they could play a crucial role in the development of western marine conservation practices. Here Enal plays with his pet shark. Wangi Wangi, Indonesia.
(© 2014 James Morgan; photographer's caption)
There are large numbers of working photographers around the world whose names sometimes are not well recognized, even though they are very accomplished and in many cases are doing truly outstanding work. It's encouraging when projects like James Morgan's "Bajau Laut: Last of the Sea Nomads" gets widespread attention, even in this age of fractured media and shortened attention spans.
I find "Tragedy of the Commons" features dispiriting and tough to read about or look at generally, but this is a superb one, for the probity of its inquiry as well as for the beauty and eloquence of the pictures. To sustain themselves, the natives use fertilizer bombs and cyanide as fishing methods, thus destroying the reefs that shelter the fish they catch, all but ensuring that the future of their way of life will be untenable and bleak. Such cautionary tales are probably fated to be the #1 concern of global humanity in the 21st century after Christ, and we all should learn what the specific examples look like. Eaten grouper in a restaurant lately?
James Morgan both captures the beauty of what will be lost and describes the dilemma of the people.
(Thanks to Christian Kurmann)
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Featured Comments from:
Sarge: "It's OK to order or cook grouper it if it's freshly caught locally or frozen. If you pick one live in an aquarium, it was probably caught with cyanide. Municipal fisheries in littoral South East Asia have been blighted by damaged coral reefs caused by blast fishing or cyanide used by sustenance fishermen (of whom the Badjao's are a tiny minority). But this pales in comparison to wholesale coral bleaching caused by climate change. You don't have to eat fish or have them as pets to contribute to the latter."
Darlene: "Another reason to be a vegetarian."