A Dream Island Is Under Threat and The Traditional Way of Life Will Soon Be Gone
Lipe Island, in the Southern Andaman Sea, has abundant marine natural resources contributing to a plentiful food supply for fish. Urak Lawoi, the local indigenous people with their own cultural identity, use ancient methods of living and fishing. Gathering from the ocean, these people use the sea as their main source of income and life-sustenance. They have a deep connection with and dependence on the sea but their way of life is under severe threat by illegal fishing. The Urak Lawoi use only simple fishing methods but sea trawling by foreign boats sweeps up most of the usable fish thus depriving the locals of food and income.
Although Lipe Island is part of the Tarutao National Marine Park rapid commercial growth, especially tourism, on this small island has resulted in numerous environmental issues. Investors have spent much money on supporting business to meet the needs of the increasing numbers of tourists each year. The construction and tourism industries bring massive amounts of trash with no disposal scheme at hand on the island.
Many islanders have changed their lives by working as tourist guides and they struggle to absorb this new culture which brings tourists from all over the world. These new ways of life have resulted in displacement from their ancestral homes and an abandonment of their own cultural identity. The ancient and simple way of life can be expected to disappear within a few generations.