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Motorboat operator Win Moe Kyaw has worked several jobs on and around Inle lake after the tourism decline and is now trying to earn a living as a fisherman. (RFA photos)

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The 45-square-mile lake is abundant with fish and is central to Myanmar’s fishing industry.

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Though he is working as a fisherman, Win Moe Kyaw says his family is no longer self-sufficient.

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About 50,000 people directly related to tourism around the lake have lost their jobs, according to the Myanmar Tourism Entrepreneurs Association.

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Win Moe Kyaw lives in Sithar village with his wife, Mazin Mar Win - who made woven cane mats before the coup - and their 2-year-old son.

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For now, Win Moe Kyaw and his family are just hoping to live and work in safety.

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A proposed UNESCO World Heritage Site, Inle Lake is famous for its unique wildlife and the floating plants that dot its surface. It’s been designated as a protected wetland for its ecological and cultural value.

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With more than 90 percent of the lake’s motels and guesthouses closed, motorboat operators do what they can to make a living.

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Many of the people who live and work around the lake had to switch careers after the collapse of the tourism industry.

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Win Moe Kyaw uses the unique form of leg rowing that was developed on the lake because it’s difficult to avoid the plants while sitting down.

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