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Did you know that the Philippines is home to an estimated 1.3 million small-scale fishermen? These fishermen set out every day, often before dawn, deploying their cast nets, seine nets and more to catch fish to feed their families and earn a living. Culturally, the Philippines is built around the ocean’s bounty, with another estimated 8 million people relying on healthy fisheries for their livelihoods.

Oil rigs near Horn Island, Mississippi, United States. Today, January 27, the Obama Administration released a draft five-year oil and gas leasing plan, which would open the Atlantic to offshore oil exploration for the first time. (Photo: EUO OCEANA  / Carlos Suárez)

Oil rigs near Horn Island, Mississippi, United States. Today, January 27, the Obama Administration released a draft five-year oil and gas leasing plan, which would open the Atlantic to offshore oil exploration for the first time. (Photo: EUO OCEANA  / Carlos Suárez)

Famous as a destination for water activities- such as diving, snorkeling, fishing and kayaking- Mergui Archipelago is a group of 800 deserted islands in the Andaman Sea, in Myanmar’s deep south.   It is also home to the Moken semi-nomadic tribe living on and off the sea.

It is said that the Moken, or “sea gypsies”, have migrated to Thailand, Myanmar and Malaysia from China around 4 thousand years ago. Their life is dominated in greater part by fishing and it’s the ocean feeding the Moken people: “Everything happens at sea. The ocean is our universe”.

Unlike other coastal regions of the U.S., the Atlantic Ocean has remained free of dirty oil and gas exploration and drilling for many decades. This past summer, the Obama Administration began reviewing applications for the use of seismic airguns along the East Coast in a region stretching from Delaware to Florida, in an area twice the size of California. However, the Atlantic does not need to be exposed to oil and gas exploration for the purpose of energy independence or job security.

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