18 July 2013
Last updated at 05:34 ET
Project Moken was founded by a team of film-makers and designers to raise awareness of the Moken sea nomads and their way of life. Norwegian photographer Sofie Olsen joined the team on the Surin Islands between Burma and Thailand.
The Moken are hunter gatherers with an exceptional knowledge of the ocean and marine life. Their livelihood is traditionally totally dependent on the resources of the sea, so spear fishing is vitally important to them.
The Moken are remarkable free divers and can dive to depths of over 20m (65ft) and stay there for several minutes on a single breath as they go in search of fish.
They have unusually good underwater-vision because their eyes have adapted to the liquid environment. Even without weights, they become negatively buoyant enough to walk across the bottom of the sea as if hunting on land.
The nomadic fishermen have lived at sea for centuries, but are now being encouraged to settle on land and join the monetary economy.
Even though many Moken now live permanently ashore, some families continue to spend days at a time living on their longtail boats fishing and collecting food. Tarpaulins have replaced the palm leaf roof and engines are used instead of sails.
During low tide the women gather the seashells that are now above the waterline by the shore. They use small homemade baskets - although some have exchanged these for plastic buckets - and simple knives as their only necessary tools.
For thousands of years the nomads have lived without much external influence but the dreams and desires of Western culture are beginning to reach the community, especially its younger members.
When the Indian Ocean tsunami struck in 2004, the Moken were able to save many lives. The nomadic fishermen’s traditional beliefs warn them to flee to higher ground if they see the ocean recede.
A traditional way to lure fish up from the deep ocean reefs is to moor a rope at a depth of 70-80m, with palm leafs attached every second metre up to 10m below the surface. An ecosystem develops on the "artificial reef", attracting larger fish to shallower waters.
After the tsunami, some Moken were given numbered beach huts to live in.
This village has become an attraction for tourists. But as the Moken begin to permanently live on land, they become increasingly influenced by Western culture and lifestyle.